Spring is traditionally considered the busiest season for the real estate market, even in Florida where we enjoy sunnier weather all year round. However, unprecedented demand and a housing shortage have made every time of year feel like the spring market. It’s understandable that you want to buy a new property and feel discouraged. However, there are steps you can take to set yourself apart from the competition when looking for your new home.
To illustrate the current market, we can look at single family home sales in 2022 compared to 2021. According to Florida Realtors, there were 31,658 homes available for sale statewide in March 2021. In March 2022, there were had 28,436 active listings, a 10.2% drop in available homes. Six months of inventory is considered normal in a balanced market, but there was only 1.2 months in March 2021 and one month in March 2022. The median selling price of a single-family home in Manatee Counties and Sarasota was $500,000 in March 2022, a 29.9% increase over the previous year.
How does a potential buyer compete in an environment where multiple offers are common? Ryan and Barbara Ackerman, leaders of the award-winning Ackerman Group of Coldwell Banker Realty in Longboat Key, offer these three tips to help buyers make a successful purchase of their next Florida home:
1. Get pre-approved, not just pre-qualified: As interest rates soar, it creates even more of a sense of urgency for homebuyers to act sooner rather than later. Any price range below $1 million tends to be more sensitive to changes in mortgage rates. The Ackerman Group says that if you need financing, it’s important to get all your ducks online before bidding on a home. Prequalifying with a lender is a first step that offers an estimate of what you could afford. But a “pre-approval letter” provides more verification of the credit available to buy a home, an important time-saving step in an environment where these decisions are made quickly.
2. Think about the contract you choose: The Florida Bar and Florida Realtors have created “FAR/BAR” contracts for use in real estate transactions. There is both a 1.) standard contract and 2.) an “as is” contract, the latter placing less liability on the seller, including repair obligations, and being more favorable to the buyer. According to the Ackerman Group, most sellers currently give preference or require buyers to submit offers on a standard FAR/BAR contract and perceive those buyers to be more committed to the transaction, which helps ensure a faster sale. Keep in mind that many sellers are hoping to secure financing so they can move quickly to make their next move. As always, each buyer should carefully consider their own situation and needs when deciding what to give up or keep in a contract negotiation.
3. Work with an experienced real estate agent: Whatever your price range, it’s more important than ever to hire an agent with intimate knowledge of listings entering the market, expertise in crafting winning strategies, and the skills to successfully negotiate your purchase. among fierce competition. “Officers need to act quickly,” Ryan Ackerman said. The Ackerman Group regularly assists out-of-state buyers who visit Florida in hopes of finding a new home. In this market, buyers don’t always find something on their first trip. Ryan and Barbara pay close attention to customer needs and use FaceTime to show them matching homes without having to travel constantly, serving as local advocates. The Ackerman Group says escalation clauses, small repair limits, or waiving home inspections are just a few strategies buyers are using to win.
Barbara Ackerman offers these words of encouragement to future owners: “Today, you have to be patient. Do not get discouraged. You need to be prepared for disappointment and stick with it. This doesn’t always happen in the first round. But it will happen.
The Sarasota area continues to be in demand for many reasons: its climate, its recreational opportunities, and Florida’s tax advantages, among others. The current real estate cycle presents challenges for buyers in Southwest Florida; but with proper preparation and representation, they will be well equipped to make their dreams of home ownership a reality.
Duff Rubin is president of Coldwell Banker Realty in Florida.