Where Are All the Homes???
June 1st is right around the corner, and as of May 21st, there are only 93 Single Family Homes for sale in Lakewood. Yep, that's right, only 93! There are nearly more homes currently under contract, 81, than there are for sale.
So what is going on? Where are all the homes? We know Lakewood is HOT. We know homes are selling quickly and that owners are getting top dollar, often with multiple offers. Yet the frequent conversation on the street is, "I can't put my home up for sale. What am I going to buy when it sells?" And there lies the problem. Fear. When we encounter a period in the market where inventory shrinks, it becomes difficult for a buyer to sell and upgrade to the next home. If they can't make a purchase, they can not sell, and it stalls the recovery.
Eventually this cycle will pass. Over time, properties will continue to appreciate in value, allowing some owners who may have been marginally under water the ability to sell without being short. Inventory will slowly begin to increase, calming the fears of sellers and buyers.
So what can you, as a homeowner who wants to move now, do when the inventory is tight? First, make sure your financial house is in order. Make sure you know exactly where you stand. Contact a reputable lender and get pre-approved. Know your options. With nearly 43% of sales nationwide being all-cash transactions you will want to make sure you can structure your offer to be the strongest possible, especially if you find yourself in a multiple offer situation.
Second, place your home on the market but make your sale contingent upon finding another home to purchase. A professional real estate agent will negotiate a longer closing period on your behalf in order to find and secure your new home. If you don't find it, you don't have to sell.
A third option is to have your real estate agent conduct a door-to-door campaign in neighborhoods where you would consider living. You may be able to find an acceptable property that is not on the market and an owner who has the ability to sell and move.
Another option is to negotiate a rent-back from your buyer for a predetermined amount of time. This scenario could buy you the needed time to search for and secure your next home, especially if your buyer is in a position to wait a few months for occupancy. Many first time buyers are coming out of rent, and can delay their move much more easily than a transferee moving to Lakewood from Chicago could.
So if you are considering a move this year, develop your game plan now. In the meantime, keep track of the local market activity at www.HomeValuesInLakewood.Info. Don't worry Lakewood, we've already sold 139 homes since January. We will figure out a way to sell 400 again by the end of the year. We will do it the same way as always, one home at a time!
Chris Bergin is a licensed real estate agent with Prudential Lucien Realty in Lakewood and can be reached at Chris@ChrisBergin.com.