The Left Behinds Search for a Home

For every fairy tale ending taking place on HGTV, there is another story developing in the real world of buying a home. The story of the buyer or seller who is not willing to negotiate but who is willing to walk away. You’ve heard of the mall walkers? Meet the House Hunters.

I am all for negotiating when there is an issue worth reviewing, but when you are $5000 apart on a listing that has only been on the market for a few days, the odds are not exactly in your favor. Value, of course is subjective and price is always an issue in the absence of value, real or perceived.
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For every one-minute telephone negotiation on Million Dollar Listing resulting in a $20 Million sale, there is another real estate agent asking themselves about the real intentions of the buyer who just made the offer. What are their real intentions? Losing a house to another buyer in a competitive situation sometimes can be a good thing. It makes someone much more determined not to lose the next one. Other times a buyer coming up short will refuse to enter into a competitive situation.

The unfortunate reality is that we have been in a sellers market for 3-4 years now, and competitive bidding and multiple offers are just a fact of a home buyers life.

It all looks so easy on television. However, it is anything but “reality” tv. It’s time the networks got together and produced a real, real estate show. To that, I say BRAVO! Let’s just hope we don’t have to wait until the Kardashians get either an education or a real job.

For every person who is victorious in a multiple counter offer situation, there is another one who continues to look, make offers, get accepted into escrow, change their mind during escrow or continue looking telling themselves and their friends that they are house hunting, and there just isn’t anything available out there.

For a lack of a better name, these are the ones referred to as “The Left Behinds”.

Searching, Searching

They may have started a home search as long as 4-5 years ago when prices were 30% less. They were not happy with the selection back then and are having trouble coming to grips with how far their money is going today. And while many other homes have been bought and sold, the left behinds just cannot seem to pull the trigger. Home ownership remains elusive. While the American Dream is alive for many, for some it is just a topic of conversation among friends.

Consider this homebuyer we will call Joan. Joan has her mind set on a condominium. But Joan is unwavering in her negotiation. She refuses to negotiate, it’s one and done. She has been doing this for a year and what she hasn’t been able to come to terms with is that the last sale price sets the standard for the next unit. Prices have been increasing and she is at a price much higher now than if she would have been willing to negotiate two units ago.

I’ve witnessed it several times. Some people have a real hard time with decision making. There is something about buying a house that makes you realize it’s serious now. Playtime is over.

A commitment is known as a marriage, but a 30-year commitment is known as a mortgage.

What we do from this point forward has consequences.

Enter Tim & Tina. Two of the best people you would ever want to know. But for them, that special house has just not presented itself over the last several years. Yes, several years. Nobody ever thought obtaining a bachelor degree can be completed in less time than it takes to buy a house. Still matriculating, for a house that is.

Many of the Left Behinds do have their own reasons for not entering the housing market and for this they remain renters. The reasons being, too big, too small, noisy neighborhood, needs too much work. too far from work, small bedrooms, small kitchen, too dark, too light, faces north, faces south, busy street, corner lot, etc., blah, blah. Or a more common line being “I’ll wait until prices come down”.

Some people have a better grasp of reality than others do. We live in Los Angeles, one of the most expensive housing markets in the nation. You simply cannot find your dream home for $500,000, $1,000,000 or perhaps even $2,000,000. In many cases, homes are 80 + years old. Buying a home is a process of elimination, much like the employer reviewing potential job applicants, maybe no one is perfect, but there is one more qualified than the others.

I guess that is why so many people are applying for a real estate license again. It just looks so easy.