Yes, there is a definite buyer’s market in Vancouver as seller’s advantage wanes in 2012, but that doesn’t mean buyers will know how to capitalize on that advantage. Here are a few things for buyers to consider to make sure they reap the rewards of the 2012 market before it gets away from them:
Hire the Best Buyer’s Agent You Can Find
If ever there were a time to relish the fact that you’re a self-made financial wizard, this is not it. Even if you’re used to going it alone in the financial world, you’re still going to need a qualified, experienced insider to get you the in-depth research and expertise you’ll need to take real advantage of this lopsided, new yet ever-changing, buyer’s market.
And that means you need an excellent buyer’s agent to guide you through this new process, get you the research data you need in a timely manner, and help you negotiate the best price, terms, and deal you can get in this quirky market. Go this one alone and you’re definitely NOT going to come out as far ahead as you think you will. Choose your buyer’s agent well and you’ll be back at his door with a smile on your face asking to do it again — soon and often, before this Vancouver buyer’s market is done with all the goodies still left.
Go for Profit First, Then for Pretty or Perfect
If you or your spouse is dead set on finding your perfect little dream home in this market, one that makes your heart sing, you may end up not being able to take advantage of the windfalls this buyer’s market may bring to others with more of an investor’s viewpoint. This quirky buyer’s market will definitely reward those ready to recognize the value of the deal first, regardless of the pretty. That’s not to say that you won’t find beautiful homes in this market. You will. In abundance. Just make sure, however, that you stay aware of the added value you can get in this market and not waste the opportunity to profit from it.
It may take a while for the market to correct itself and get back on an even keel, but saavy investors are actively involved here. Don’t let them scoop up the deals while you ponder over some insignificant issue that’s not pretty perfect. Go for profit first in this market, then for pretty or perfect, not the other way around.
Get Your Buyer’s Agent to Research Comparables In depth
There’s gold in the mountains of deals you will find out there in 2012, but don’t think there’s going to be a sign in the front yard telling you which one is going to give you the most bang for your buck. Good comparables will give you a lot of research to narrow down your best bets.
One dead giveaway, however, is to make sure you look closely at the information provided in the homeowner’s tax assessments for the last five years at least. Then pull the tax assessments for as many comparable homes in the neighbourhood and on their same street as you can. There’s a good chance that your seller may not have appealed their Vancouver home tax assessment when the bottom fell out of the market while most of his neighbours did. While neighbours who had intended to stay in their homes forever wanted their assessment to reflect true market values and assessments, your seller’s goal was to keep his market value and assessments as high as possible as he knew he was going to sell and either wanted to make as much money as possible or was just trying to keep from going upside down on his mortgage or losing his home altogether.
Talk to your buyer’s agent in depth about this, as it may mean you have even more room to wiggle around and negotiate a lower price with your seller, knowing their asking price is still too high as compared with the lowered values in their neighbourhood.