One of my best friends has been out of work for nearly 3 years. He’s a controller type, book keeper maybe, for the construction industry. He’s either over qualified because employers think he will seek greener pastures as soon as a better opportunity comes along, so they don’t hire him or he’s under qualified – competing with CPA’s (which he is not) or even CFO’s, and so he doesn’t get those positions for obvious reasons.
People searching for work will tell you that they scour Craigslist, Monster.com and the help wanted ads, searching for work. They will tell you they treat it like a full time job, spending defined hours daily, filling out applications, sending résumés and contacting would be employers. They will also tell you that employers are in no hurry to call back or even respond, and certainly in no rush to hire anyone, at least not to the same degree as the out of work fellow is.
Home buyers are very much the same right now. They are looking, and looking and looking, and few are buying. Like my friend who’s been steadily job hunting for 3 years, sellers are looking for buyers. The good sellers- those who listen to their Realtor about painting, carpeting, de-cluttering etc., are finding that even if they are competitively priced and show ready, they still can’t get the buyers to pull the trigger unless they “give the house away”. The buyers just aren’t in a rush to make a decision. The LA Times recently had an article about the myths of home buying and the story begins with, “The perfect house doesn’t exist”, and it’s true. But that doesn’t stop buyers from seeking the Holy Grail of Homes; The Mother of All Properties; the Grand Poo-bah of All Estates.
The fact is that buyer’s, like employers, are uncertain and extremely cautious – and who can blame them? The government isn’t helping with their own indecision, the economy is sputtering at best and the threat of declining prices remains. Of course the irony here is that there is real opportunity for a “killer score” exists; but that a great buy, like a great hire, only happens when they take a chance.
There have been a number of reports, surveys and studies done by an array of researchers on the difficulty of getting hired after having been out of work for any length of time. The evidence is clear that it is much easier to get hired out of a job, than to get hired when you haven’t a job. The same is true for home sellers: it almost doesn’t matter how nice the home, if it’s sat on the market for a while, it is somehow deemed “no longer desirable”. Sadly, like the serious job lookers who treat their job hunt like a job in itself, great homes remain unsold. And similarly if an employer could see just how much work it takes to send out résumés every day, they would know that in hiring a person who’s been long unemployed, they would be getting a very a hard worker at likely a discounted rate. So it is for great homes that haven’t sold right away. A great home is a great home, and sometimes it isn’t until much later, that that becomes clear. Buyers, like employers, are failing to recognize an amazing opportunity even when it smacks them in the face and that the opportunity to get the right home, at the right price and interest rate, may never be better than it is right now. Then again, like employers searching for definitive evidence the economy is on the mend and won’t deteriorate further, buyers are waiting, hoping they might find the perfect home. But like pretty much everything in life, the obvious isn’t so obvious until viewed through the telescope of time. So it is that home sellers, like job hunters, will just have to hurry up and wait.