Right now I’ve got a couple of clients who appear to be wandering aimlessly through Westchester county in search of the “perfect home.” In the past I had a great deal of patience and would take a qualified buyer almost anywhere they wanted. But with Westchester homes for sale inventories still fairly high and buyers finding new and very creative ways for shooting themselves in the foot through by overestimating their power in this buyers market and ignoring comps altogether when they make offers…..I have to find a way get these buyers to narrow the field to something resembling sanity.
After showing almost 30 properties to one couple and over 40 properties to another – these buyers appear to have no urgency and seem to want to meander aimlessly into every town, village and city in Westchester county and quite literally schedule showings for every single home that might – just might – remotely qualify. I just pulled some favorites picked by one such client and the X’s on the map depict where the most recent 15 of the numerous favorites they had filed away.
This is quite literally all over the place with no focus, and what appears to be no rhyme and no reason behind it. There may be a methodology that I don’t get – so I need to sit down and talk to this client before I show them any more homes…No matter what the reasoning, we have to pare this down dramatically or it becomes completely unworkable. This is literally 12 different school systems and municipalities. After about 20 showings – we should be down to a single neighborhood – but in this case I would settle for one town. We are certainly not where we should be after so many showings so I am asking this buyer to narrow the field down by doing their due diligence in advance of requesting showings.
I provide links to my buyers and suggest that they contact local authorities with respect to things like crime. (I haven’t found a site that I like about this. ) I know that more than 80% of this is pure junk that just looks good in pictures and would never pass the sniff test if they did about 15 minutes of research on each of these areas. Some have taxes that make the price point well out of range, some have school systems that would sooner or later kill the deal, some have a good deal of crime (though that is rare- it does exist) some are in the direct flight path to the local airport and finally some are from municipalities that have so many severe fiscal problems that pricing and taxes will be problematic for years.
From the agents standpoint – setting up tours and taking buyers out is not trivial. We try to be open and accommodating but there are limits. An extensive tour that covers more than one town can take a couple of hours for me to set up – maybe even longer if a seller throws a monkey wrench into our carefully laid plans. It looks simple, but it involves time and coordination. Truth be told – I can not show buyers 100 homes and stay in business. This would put me in minimum wage territory and in the red on my business.
But worse still is what this does to sellers. Sellers have to clean, scrub, vacuum, tidy, straighten and fluff up their home for the buyer. Its very time consuming and the reward is the possibility that they will get an offer from the buyer. It is not fair to have sellers jump through these hoops for an unmotivated buyer who is very unlikely to put in a realistic offer. Sellers are being patient – but as this market is starting to recover – we are getting real push-back when it comes to showings – and I understand where they are coming from.
The bottom line here is that home buyers need to do their due diligence. For schools – a great starting point is GreatSchools.org. That can be followed up with a visit to the school system’s web site. Another step is Googling the city and its finances and at the end of the day – nothing beats calling the local authorities about crime. Driving through the neighborhood and stopping in a restaurant for a meal and walking around will also eliminate many municipalities. This is necessary research for all buyers and helps the unfocused buyer to start the elimination process – saving everyone – including the buyer a great deal of time and unnecessary stress.
© 2011 – Ruthmarie G. Hicks – https://thewestchesterview.com – All rights reserved.
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