Text by Lisa Cavanaugh
As everyone looking at real estate right now is aware, the late spring/early summer market is challenging, especially for prospective buyers. “As real estate agents we are highly conscious of how difficult it is for buyers to navigate the current market due to low inventory,” says Belmont-based Barbara Nolan, a Premier Realtor and International President’s Premier with Coldwell Banker.
Nolan, who has ranked in Coldwell Banker Top 50 sales associates nationally since 2006, has specific suggestions for what buyers looking for properties this summer, in what is proving to be a very competitive market, should do.
“I recommend choosing a reputable lender and then obtaining a pre-approval letter,” she says, “otherwise, it can delay closing.” Nolan also suggests that buyers consider forgoing an inspection or mortgage contingencies, which can enhance their offer. While it might be possible to have a pre-inspection, depending on the property, she advises that buyers have to be at peace with their decision.
Nolan also cautions buyers to start their search at a lower range than their pre-approval amount. “If there are multiple offers, they have to be prepared to bid well over asking price,” she says. The Massachusetts Association of REALTORS® (MAR) recently reported that the median sale price for a single-family home in the state was $485,000 in March, and condos hit a record median sale price of $459,450 and the National Association of Realtors indicates that existing home sales in the Northeast during March 2021 were 16.9% greater than in March 2020.
“We have been selling homes within days of coming on market,” says Laura Semple of Coldwell Banker Realty in Sudbury, who echoes Nolan’s assessment of how buyers should approach the process. “ We have seen multiple offers 5%-10% over asking, with buyers waiving financing and/or mortgage contingencies.”
With home inventory in Massachusetts reaching its lowest point since MAR began collecting data in 2004, Nolan offers her best piece of advice for would-be buyers. “Find a well-respected real estate agent who is familiar with the areas where you are searching, “ she says. Every Coldwell Banker agent knows the value of personal relationships, and Nolan stresses that using their services to find a home can be priceless.