The Away Team.
As tough as it may seem to buy a house these days in San Carlos — with its miniscule inventory, multiple offers, and escalating prices — there’s one group of buyers who has it especially tough in this challenging climate: Relocation buyers. With the strong outlook for employment in the technology, bio-tech, and finance sectors, there’s a significant number of people right now looking to move into San Carlos and other points on the Peninsula from all around the world, and they’re having a particularly tough time. I’m a Certified Relocation Specialist with Alain Pinel Realtors, so I’m seeing it first-hand.
In a normal, balanced real estate market, one could make the argument that “corporate” relocation buyers have a bit of an advantage over local buyers because they are the beneficiaries of some very generous relocation perks. Some of the larger corporations offer down-payment assistance with the purchase, full reimbursement for all inspections, and even corporate housing for a few months while they find a place to buy, just to name a few.
But in a market like we’re experiencing now, the value of time trumps all of the other benefits. It’s an extremely fast market, and it favors speed and decisiveness — two factors that give the home-field advantage to the local buyer.
Settle For Less, or Rent.
The biggest shock that I see from relocation buyers (aside from the expected sticker shock) is from the utter lack of homes to choose from. Their expectation when they arrive is that they should be able to pick a community to settle in, and then wrap up the purchase within the first 60 days. What they’re finding is that in order to make the purchase before their relocation benefits expire, they have to significantly alter the “must-have” list for their new home — or worst case, alter their purchase plans entirely.
What this often means is settling for considerably less than what they wanted coming in.. i.e. a smaller house, or living in a completely different city than they were hoping to. This is a particularly big problem for San Carlos, whose schools and central location seem to put it at the top of the list for many relo buyers.
To get around the problem, many are resorting to renting a home in the community of their choice. This at least gets them in the door, and buys them a year or so to educate themselves on the micro-geographies that make up any city. The downside of this approach is that they run the risk their relocation benefits expiring, which is not a trivial thing.
If you’re one of the lucky ones who is moving to this great area, congratulations! There’s no other place that I would rather call home. Just bear in mind that the next few months will be a particularly tough market for buyers until the inventory situation hopefully improves. Flexibility and patience will be mandatory to make it work.
Need more help? Give me a call… I know relo.
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