Even though prices are down significantly from their peak and the homes and condos for sale are a much better value, with some very good values still to be found, the high demand and low inventory have changed the local market to where it is no longer really a buyer’s market and is instead shifting somewhat toward being a slight buyers market right now.

I have seen this a lot in the last few months.  Clients who come to look at houses or condos give me a list of places that want to see and when I call to set up appointments I find out that nearly half have just gone under contract.  This happened again this past week with a client where nearly every house they really liked when they saw the listing ended up having just gone under contract.

Because of this, buyers will need to understand how the market is right now and approach it correctly.  A recent article went over this and what they discussed definitely applies here.

Low-ball bidders in many markets learn they can no longer get a steal on a house

by Kenneth Harney at the Washington Post Writers Group

Based on the latest survey results, that sort of strategy is not a winning move in many communities this spring. In fact, in local markets where inventories are tight and competition for homes rising, realty agents say that buyers looking to steal houses by low-balling their offers are ending up at the back of the line, their contracts either rejected out of hand or countered close to the original asking price….More at Housing Survey: Fewer “low ball” Offers in 2012

The summary at the end of this article is good advice:

The takeaway here: Rolling low-balls at sellers may have been an effective approach between 2008 and early 2011. But in 2012’s environment — at least in rebounding markets — it could be counterproductive if you truly want to buy….More at Housing Survey: Fewer “low ball” Offers in 2012

Right now it is vital to be prepared to act quickly when you find something you really like, make sure you are paying a fair price for it – but don’t deal with a real estate purchase in a way that no longer works in this current market.