There's so much misinformation out there that it makes it really hard to be a buyer. You want to feel like you're in control, you've done your research, and you know what's going on in the market; because when you're not looking at homes or virtual tours, you're reading articles to educate yourself so you're prepared for the next step.
So how do you know where to get your information from? That's a great question. I wish I had the answer. Obviously, someone who's in the trenches every day is going to have a different perspective from someone viewing the industry from the outside. But, those people in the trenches are soothing clients worries via text at 1am or sorting out a problem with escrow at 1pm, they're working so hard for their clients, people like me often don't have the time to put the correct information out there.
However, as busy as we are, we really do need to correct misinformation when we see it. What pushed me to write this? National Association of Realtors just released an article, titled, "Report: Buyers Far Less Likely to Face Bidding Wars," saying that multiple offers are down from 53% to 13% compared to last year. The issue I have with this is they only talked to one brokerage, Redfin, to gather this information. There was no actual metro-area data to back this up, either, just a bunch of generalizations.
Now, as an agent, I am tremendously curious about other markets across the country. We live in this really weird bubble here in the SF Bay Area so I like learning about what's going on outside of it. Agent friends in Colorado have confirmed that their market is super hot and buyers are having to be extremely competitive to get their offers accepted. A friend shopping in Kansas City was surprised at how quickly homes were selling before she was able to finally get into contract. To me, those numbers presented by NAR in the article just don't add up with the real world knowledge and input I'm seeing from various markets that you'd assume wouldn't be so hot when there's still so much snow on the ground.
It's simply misleading to tell buyers they're not going to have to compete for a home in 2019. It's not right to pick and choose what data you share to garner clicks if that data leads buyers to believe their entering a fairytale market that simply doesn't exist.
Are some buyers holding off for the perfect home? Yes, and you'll find buyers holding off in any market for that perfect home - it's not a unique concept for 2019. What this article fails to conceptualize is what the actual buyer experience is right now across the board. NAR is supposed to be an accurate resource for buyers and sellers across America, their articles should be full of useful information that helps educate anyone considering buying or selling.
Do I believe the number of multiple offers written by Redfin agents could be down? Absolutely. I'm not accusing them of putting misleading information out there, but let's look at it logically here. Redfin is a discount brokerage that treats their agents like employees, they devalue the time, effort, and expertise we are forced to bring to the table to set ourselves apart as independent contractors who are earning our client's trust and business. I think buyers have gotten smarter and learned that they're not "saving" anything if their agent isn't working for them. The "refund" on the offer you didn't get accepted is zero. While sellers might not be seeing multiple offers because their Redfin agents are not marketing their home at the same level as the other brokerages would have or pricing the home to generate excitement for their market. Serious buyers and sellers still appreciate full service agents and the white glove service many of us offer. We're still very much a customer service industry.
While NAR wants to bolster buyer confidence going into an unpredictable spring, they are not doing it in an intelligent way. Putting a study this narrow out there without consulting the major brokerages, who are doing the bulk of the business in the industry, as to what their experiences are, is only hurting buyers. We need to make it our commitment, as Realtors, to educate and treat the public with respect, this is not doing that. Our buyers are smart and it's our obligation to educate them so they can achieve their dreams. We need to make sure they're putting their best foot forward when they fall in love with a home because most of the time, they're thinking with their hearts.
My advice to you: be picky with your information. Don't get sucked in by headlines. Look for a variety of data or where your information is coming from when choosing which sources to trust. To those of us in the industry, we need to be better than this.
For the article I'm referring to, you can find it here.