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Major Real Estate Issues – As Noted by REALTORS®

Every month REALTORS® provide a variety of comments in responding to the survey for the REALTORS® Confidence Index. Changes in the types of comments received highlight the current problems and opportunities around the country.

A Changing Market: The biggest issue right now is Multi-bidding. A number of REALTORS® noted that some buyers are “still trying to get something for nothing.” However, the market has changed substantially—in only a few months. Sales, prices, and confidence are up. Low inventories of homes for sale, a sellers’ market, investors purchasing properties for cash, and increased buyer activity have created tight markets in a number of areas. To quote one REALTOR®, ”Buyers must offer within 24 hours”.

  • What does this mean for REALTORS®? Buyers with financing in place and ready to make an offer with fewer contingencies have been noted as being more successful.

Appraisals – Still a Problem: Appraisals continue to be a problem. A number of responses noted that appraisals are coming in low and lagging the market by three to four months. Concern over appraiser qualifications as related to specific markets was noted. A number of sources also indicated that appraisers are increasingly raising inspection issues—not an issue for an appraisal.

  • What does this mean for REALTORS®? How to handle the buyer and seller concerns resulting from appraisal lags may be an issue that needs to be thought out ahead of time in order to avoid a contract cancellation.

Mortgages – Still Tight: Continued problems faced by some buyers in qualifying for a loan were noted. This is particularly the case for condos in view of FHA owner occupancy requirements. A number of REALTORS® expressed concern over unrealistic loan requirements by financial institutions.

  • What does this mean for REALTORS®? Getting finances in order prior to filing for a mortgage was noted by a number of respondents as an important issue. Some sources have noted that there are a wide variety of institutions making loans—not just the large banks. A local bank or credit union may be a good place to look for a mortgage. In addition, having built a relationship with a bank can be very helpful when looking for a loan.

Jed Smith, Managing Director, Quantitative Research

Jed Smith is Managing Director, Quantitative Research with the National Association of Realtors®. He has worked on real estate issues for the past 20 years, providing input on a variety of housing, commercial real estate, tax, and planning issues. Recently he has been involved in several international studies.

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