Sarah Scattini: How can buyers remain confident in a low-inventory housing market? (Voices)

Sarah Scattini

Sarah Scattini

It’s highly likely the supply of homes for sale in the Reno-Sparks area will remain very tight through 2022 — but that doesn’t mean that buyers need to give up hope.

A well-planned strategy, the advice of a professional Realtor and a bit of patience can combine to bring the dreams of homebuyers to reality even in this market.

There’s no doubt the inventory of existing homes available for purchase is very limited. At last count, an average of 285 homes were listed for sale in Reno and Sparks, according to the Reno/Sparks Association of Realtors, representing only a two-week supply at the current pace of sales — an exceptionally tight sellers’ market. (In a balanced market, the inventory of homes for sale represents enough for four to six months of sales.)

Homes that are listed for sale typically are under contract in 15 days. Bidding wars are common throughout the region. Families searching for a home to call their own sometimes feel frustrated about their slow progress. The professionals with the Reno/Sparks Association of Realtors expect this situation to continue through this year.

So, what can a buyer do? Here are some suggestions from the area’s top realtors:

Research the market.
The days of leisurely shopping for a home, educating yourself as you go along, have disappeared. Educate yourself about current home values. Use online tools to understand the neighborhoods and the home styles you desire before you jump in.
Get your financial ducks in a row before you start looking for homes. Work with a lender to get pre-approved (not just pre-qualified) for a mortgage. If you’re buying with cash, have your proof of funds ready.

Before you begin your search, decide what features in your new home would be must-haves, and decide which would be nice-but-optional. In a tight market, you’re unlikely to find a home that meets every single item on your nice-to-have list, but you certainly won’t want to give up those must-have features. It’s best to think about this — and talk it through with your spouse — when you’re not feeling pressured to make a quick decision. Investing in a fixer-upper home could even lead to higher equity for you in the future.

Work with a Realtor who knows how to navigate a tight market. 
Realtors bring a depth of experience in the Reno-Sparks market and understand the ever-shifting trends that might create an opportunity for a buyer. Realtors also can think creatively, helping to deliver solutions to challenges that might feel daunting. Perhaps most important, Realtors are experienced negotiators who help buyers keep their emotions under control while they work toward a successful transaction.

Patience is a virtue. 
Even though it might seem counter-intuitive, patience is a necessity in fast-moving markets such as these. Understand that all good things happen in their own time. Don’t let panic or frustration rush you into a decision that you’ll regret later. Generations of homebuyers through the years have successfully surmounted all sorts of challenges presented by changing markets. Low inventories of homes for sale in Reno and Sparks are today’s challenge, but hundreds of successful transactions every month show that this challenge, too, can be successfully overcome.

Sarah Scattini is the 2022 president of the Reno/Sparks Association of Realtors. Scattini has 17 years of experience in the real estate industry, with her main focus on first-time home buyers, relocators, investors, sellers and buyers. She currently works at Re/Max Premier Properties.


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