Here are the latest news and notes from our local real estate market.

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The Benton County and Washington County markets are red-hot right now, with homes flying off the market almost as soon as they’re being listed. Properly priced homes in good condition are fetching multiple offers and selling well above asking price. What factors are contributing to this craziness?

Sellers are gunning for top dollar, while buyers are just happy to get what they can. Inventory is tighter than ever, and interest rates are still hovering near historic lows. While this can be a frustrating market for homebuyers, it should be noted that purchasing power remains strong despite rising prices. Buyers can essentially trade a higher purchase price for a fixed low rate that saves them thousands of dollars over the life of their loan. Nonetheless, competition is fierce, and buyers are struggling to get their offers accepted. How can they put themselves in the best possible position to compete?

For one thing, it’s never been more important to work with an experienced agent. Browsing Zillow and other third-party sites is fun, but the properties you see today will be gone by tomorrow. Having an agent who can give you access to real-time listings on the MLS is key. If you’re looking at public sites on your home computer, the information you see might be lagging by a day or two. Right now, buyers can’t afford to lose any time at all. Additionally, your agent can point you to off-market properties and ‘coming soon’ listings—two great ways to cut back the competition and get ahead of the game.

Buyers can essentially trade a higher purchase price for a fixed low rate that saves them thousands of dollars over the life of their loan.

Second, hone in on your ‘why.’ What’s your strongest motivation for moving? Are you comfortable with making some small sacrifices to achieve your goal? When you do find a property you like, you must be ready to pull the trigger. Have a pre-approval letter in hand and a willingness to submit your best offer first.

What should sellers know about this market? Well, selling is the easy part; the real struggle is giving sellers enough time to procure a replacement property. Therefore, it’s usually in sellers’ best interest to negotiate for a longer closing date. Generally, we’ve been helping our sellers negotiate for 60 to 90 days; that’s enough time to identify a new property they’ll truly love.

As always, feel free to reach out if you have questions about this or any other real estate topic. We’re happy to be a resource for you and assist with whatever buying, selling, or investing needs you may have.