By Scott Gaertner
The total number of Scottsdale North sales cancellations in the last year or so is quite low. But, as a percentage, sales cancellations are up notably. This is a fairly recent, but naggingly persistent, trend. Overall, we are still in a seller’s market, but buyers seem to be pushing back a bit.
One of the ways this resistance manifests itself is in the form of copious inspection requests. As I alluded in this month’s article on the April Sales surge, a large part of the buyers’ frustration is the limited amount of inventory we are experiencing. There are just not enough homes on the market for buyers to choose from.
“Where is that home I saw on HGTV?!”
Because of this shortage of homes on the market, the mindset seems to be, “I can’t find the home I really want, so I’ll settle for this one. But it had better be perfect!”
When sellers oppose what they feel are either petty requests or renegotiations during the inspection phase, we get higher cancellation rates…and that isn’t good for anyone.
We see the effects of this frustration as the sellers’ agents. Two of our sellers recently had buyers that canceled their purchase on a seller’s home during the inspection phase, only to come back again weeks later to make another offer on the home! I imagine that those buyers tried very hard not to come back to us and accept our seller’s terms. And if there had been anything else available, I am confident they would have purchased it.
Improve the Home Inspection Process
There are things you and your agent can do to reduce the chances of this scenario happening to you when you sell.
• Get a Pre-Listing Inspection.
The first and easiest solution is to get a home inspection before you sell. It will likely cost you around $500, but it could be the best money you spend. It can save you thousands of dollars and millions of gray hairs. Buyers think everything costs thousands to repair when it can really be just pennies. Fix it first! In fact, we think this step is important enough that we have started paying for our sellers’ pre-inspection costs.
• Know they are going to find things wrong.
Finding things wrong with the home is the inspector’s job. They will find things. Even if you are the best home maintainer in the world, the inspector will find things that need repair. Expect it, accept it, and get over it.
• Keep the emotions out of it.
Even if you are selling your personal home, a home sale is still a business transaction. Try to keep it that way and don’t let it get personal. And remember that this can be an emotional process for the buyer, too.
• Hire a great agent.
When you get the buyer’s inspection requests, a great agent will help you understand what is important and what isn’t. They will pick up the phone and negotiate for you. Text messages are the norm and they are easily misconstrued. A great agent will also carefully shield you from potentially hurtful or incendiary comments that you should never see. We consistently see agents that carelessly forward their client’s emails containing remarks that can easily be interpreted as offensive. That should never happen. Your agent’s job is to keep things positive and professional, even during the most contentious transactions.
Upgraded Features Buyers Want
We are studying some new trends in the market that help us understand what buyers really want to see in terms of upgraded home features. I was very surprised by the results – and after 30 years in the real estate business, I am not the easiest guy to surprise in this arena!
Based on what home buyers are saying, we have found some great ways to update your home and get it sold faster and for more money than you paid to update it. We don’t have the space to do the subject justice in this article, so if you want to learn more, keep reading this newspaper. You can also subscribe to our monthly market update email, which has even more details and information. Folks who get our monthly email tell me that they love it (and of course you can always unsubscribe if you don’t want to receive it any longer).
Lastly, If you would like a copy of Scott’s report Home Inspections: What every buyer and seller needs to know email [email protected]
Scott Gaertner is an Associate Broker with Keller Williams Northeast Realty, who for the past 25+ years has helped more people to find their lifestyle niche in the Scottsdale North area than anyone else.