Hans Struzyna Alameda Real Estate Agent

Buyer Opportunities in a Sellers Market | How can a first time home buyer win in the Bay Area?

Imagine this: after days and days of searching online, you’ve finally found a house that matches all that you’re looking for in a home. You decide to visit it, end up liking it even more, but then you realize you have a problem—a lot of other people also want to buy that home. Whats worse? When you have this problem with not just one but two or even more times in a row.

This could mean one thing: you’re in a strong seller’s market, when there are more potential home buyers than homes to buy. This is very typical for the East Bay housing market. How do you get the perfect opportunity to buy in this type of market though? Watch my video and read my tips below.

1. Look for BAD photos

If you’re looking in areas that are very tech driven like the Bay Area, you are also most likely checking out listings on your mobile phone. My tip? Look at the listings with the bad photos too! Not just the gorgeous, curated ones which get lots of attention from other potential buyers. Pay attention to the photos that are ugly at first glance, are sideways, or have a weird skew to them and just try to dig a little deeper. Look at the qualifications of the house, its stats, and its numbers. Chances are, not a lot of people will pay attention to these listings and you might just be able to find your diamond in the rough—your dream home.

2. Don’t scroll too quickly past houses with strange lay-outs

Found a house that you struggle to understand the lay-out of? If it confused you, it most likely also confused your competition and not be too interested in it as a result.  This means it’s your chance to investigate the property further.

Similar to the first tip, fewer potential buyers are probably going to want this home compared to others which floor plan they can visualize more easily and where it would be easier for them to imagine how they would live in, based on the photos and videos.  

3. Familiarize yourself with the ‘seasons’

There are certain times of the year when more inventory is on or there’s way less of a buyer pool than what is typical for the East Bay market. Basically, your goal is to take advantage of the months when there’s more inventory and less buyer activity because this means less competition for you and a greater chance for you to find your ideal home.  For both buyers and sellers, these are the months you shouldn’t miss:  

April, May, and June

February and March are always the hot months– there’s fairly decent inventory and a ton of buyer activity.  In April and May, buyer activity start to cool off a bit and buyers will have fewer competition than if they looked earlier.

In June, buyer activity flattens even further and which has probably something to do with the school year ending and people going on vacation. So while your competition is still busy enjoying their summer, you get to have more choices and also enjoy having less competition.   

July and August 

The 4th of July usually sees the return of the energy which usually lasts until the end of August, where there’s also very little inventory, making it a good time to sell.

In contrast, the first two weeks of September is usually the time when all the inventory would pop on. In effect, this is also the first big opportunity for buyers who have low down payments or a relatively poor cash position. The buyer pool typically does not swell enough to match the supply so buyers during this time will have more options.

October and the Holiday Season

In October, activity starts to become slower as the holidays approach. For sellers who want to sell for the best price, they have to already to be in contract by Halloween. In addition, sellers being in contract after the Halloween usually mean two things: 1) The seller does not care about getting the highest price or 2) They have another motivation aside from just selling. This could be relocation plans or other life events, like a job change that makes them want to move before the end of the year.  

The good news? This is a huge opportunity for buyers since people typically don’t like to move during the holidays. For buyers who have lower down payments, less than ideal cash position, or are going to use alternative financing methods, you should totally grab this opportunity! This trend typically only applies once every year.  

4. What Happened During Covid

With the shelter-in-place happening on Early March which is typically a booming month, inventory has been pushed through March, April, and May. At present, we’re also seeing unprecedented number of listings, and a huge pipeline coming.

This swelling of the inventory can also be an opportunity for potential buyers to have more options. Also, since the buyer pool is just starting to come back to match the inventory as of mid-July, if you’re planning to buy a house this year, you should totally already start looking!

5. A Quick Prediction

If you’re wondering when the next big opportunity for the buyers will be this year, my prediction is that it will be during the 2020 election season.

Right now, I’m still seeing lots of multiple offers for houses despite still having a ton of inventory. Compared to earlier months, my prediction will be that the competition will be less stiff during the election season.

The election season always causes some people to pull out of the market. Some people want to wait and see what happens during this time. With the election season approaching and with sellers who have a motivation to relocate for various reasons before the end of the year, this could be your most opportune time to finally get the house of your dreams.

I hope this list has helped you. If I can give you more context on the process of buying your first home, please do not hesitate to reach out. My information is below. 

Here’s to all your success!

Best,

Hans Struzyna,

The market has shifted and you need to be aware of where we are going. I have created a free resource packed with all the information I tell all my clients when they start shopping.

Download my COVID Era Buyers Guide:

(510) 768 - 8228
DRE # 020284245
EastBayHans@gmail.com