Fifty people showing up to see a house, knockout offers that takes a property of the market within a few hours, offers 20% above asking price: the housing market has turned from a buyer’s into a seller’s market within a year, which leaves the market in control of the sellers and the real estate agents.
Note: this article refers to the most popular and densely populated areas in the NL such as Amsterdam, Utrecht and also Haarlem.
Where only a few years ago a makelaar was happy to have a few people interested viewing a place, now the seller can limit the amount of viewers by choice or even demand an immediate offer on paper. “Selling a house has become easy again. This has taken effect on the behaviour of the sales realtors”, according to André de la Porte of Vereniging Eigen Huis (VEH).
It’s hard for them to get a house in their portfolio, which they can sell. There are simply not enough houses for sale. The most wanted houses cost between 200.000 and 450.000 euros.
Sold before it’s even on the market
When a real estate agent puts up a house for sale in a popular street, potential buyers present themselves almost out of the blue. “Actually, the property has been sold already”, is the reaction house hunters hear when they respond immediately to an advertisement that appears on Funda. To even have a chance of participating in the viewing and bidding, a real estate agent may be indispensable to assist you in the process of buying. People who hired a purchasing realtor know that a house is for sale before the rest of the world does. Moreover, they get preference when they call for a viewing because an agent prefers working with a ‘colleague’.
Have a good look
In these busy times, real estate agents tend to keep the viewing rounds as short as possible. Five minutes on a working day with 20 other people is not an exception. You might want to insist on having a more thorough look or see the property a second time. The process of buying a house might be a daily job for your realtor whereas you will probably not participate in a house negotiation more than once or twice in your life. Your well-being is on the line though. Financially you will probably commit to a mortgage for years. And the house you are about to purchase is supposed to be your home for a few or even many years to come.
When you go for a house in Amsterdam or Haarlem, pressure is high to make a fast decision. Where a year ago a house would be on the market for 101 days on average, now it’s only 78 days. Chances are you have to make a decision real fast.
There are loads of properties at the moment that are being sold without a clause of financing. The safest advice would be simply not to do this. However, when you are going for popular locations you might want to take the risk anyway. In that case, ask your agent thoroughly about the ups and the downs of the property.