Spring 2022 continues to be a strong sellers’ market throughout most of @properties Christie’s International Real Estate territory including Chicagoland, Northwest Indiana, Southwest Michigan, and Southeast Wisconsin. To gain an understanding of overall and local market trends, and how both buyers and sellers can best prepare, we asked the following managing brokers from @properties Christie’s International Real Estate to offer their guidance.
Don Shea – Wilmette, Evanston, & Lake Geneva, Wisconsin
George Schultz – Bucktown, Logan Square, & Southwest Michigan
Jorge Abreu – Highland Park & Glencoe
Keri Cook Falls – Lake Forest & Bannockburn
Natasha O’Connor – Glenview & Northbrook
Tricia Riberto – Hinsdale & Western Springs
Here’s what they had to say:
@properties Christie’s International Real Estate: In what ways is spring market 2022 similar to last year? In what ways is it different?
Natasha O’Connor: This spring market is as frenzied as the second half of 2020, but there is even less inventory. Sellers’ concerns about, “Where will I go?” are magnified, and buyers are a little exhausted.
Don Shea: There is still a remarkable number of buyers in spring 2022 as there were in 2021, and they are aggressive about finding a home. The primary difference is the lack of properties. In 2022, the inventory shortfall seems even greater than in previous years.
George Schultz: Prices are higher, and luxury is still leading the way on any downtown recovery. It is still a major battle for single-family homes in and around the city.
@properties Christie’s International Real Estate: What should first-time buyers understand about this spring market?
Jorge Abreu: It’s important to truly understand the dynamics of the market. It’s a historically low-inventory environment with competition at an all-time high. If you find a home you like, go in with a strong offer, and leverage your agent’s expertise to come up with strategies that will increase your chances of coming out on top in a competitive offer situation.
Tricia Riberto: Be patient. Finding the right house this year and winning an offer is a marathon, not a sprint. But stay optimistic, there will always be another home.
Keri Cook Falls: Have your financing lined up. You should not make any other large purchases when you’re shopping for a home or during mortgage approval, because it can negatively impact the approval process. If you do lose out on a home in a multiple offer situation, it’s important to learn as much as possible about why the offer was rejected (it’s not always price) in order to make a stronger offer next time around.
@properties Christie’s International Real Estate: What’s the best approach for sellers (either move-up or move-down) who also need to find a home to move into?
NO: Talk to your broker about options including renting, and make sure your broker has a good grasp of what you’re looking for in your home as it may be something the broker can proactively seek out. Also talk to your broker about getting creative with contract terms. We are seeing more situations with post-close possession or delayed close. Buyers are facing limited supply, so sellers can set up terms on their end that work for them.
TR: Buyers have never been more willing to be flexible with timing. Sellers have a great opportunity to list their house and get top dollar and favorable terms, and buy themselves four-plus months to find their next home with the help of a long closing and lease back. Buyers want certainty, so if it means having to wait four months to move into the home, a lot of them are willing to do that.
KCF: If you have a desirable home, it’s going to sell quickly, so I would suggest finding the home you want to buy first. Talk to your agent about market times in your area and price range, and plan accordingly.
@properties Christie’s International Real Estate: How should buyers prepare for seemingly inevitable bidding wars? How can they best set their expectations and remain optimistic?
KCF: It is important for buyers to meet with their agent to go through all the scenarios of a multiple offer situation and communicate clearly and honestly with what they are and are not willing to do to get a home. Buyers don’t have a lot of leverage in this market but that certainly doesn’t mean they should do something that doesn’t work for them financially. Perhaps buyers can consider a lower price point and go in aggressively while saving money to do renovations that make the home more appealing.
@properties Christie’s International Real Estate: What advice would you give sellers who are navigating the 2022 spring market?
NO: Prepare your home as you would in any other market. It is still important to present your home in a way that will attract the greatest pool of buyers. And, along those lines, it’s still important to price competitively. If buyers push up the price from the list price, great! Just make sure they see the value initially.
DS: Recognize that 2022 is a remarkable opportunity to maximize the value of your home. However, today’s buyers are some of the most informed buyers ever and they know value. Pricing too high may hurt your selling chances. The home will find its true market value.
JA: Don’t get greedy, and be sure to look at offers “holistically.” Yes, price is king, but be sure to consider all terms in an offer, such as contingencies, financing, timing, etc. These can all be important factors that may make a difference in how and when you reach your objectives as a seller.
@properties Christie’s International Real Estate: What advice would you give buyers who are navigating the 2022 spring market?
DS: Have a really good idea of what you want and need in a home, know your limits, and be ready to say “no” if the pricing and demands exceed your comfort level.
JA: Stay calm and positive. Work with your agent to get creative with your offer, and try to stand out. I would also say that if you really need or want to move, stick with it. Plenty of last year’s buyers decided to “take a breather” during the second half of the year. They came back early this spring to find an even more challenging landscape.