The potential client wondered if I had access to “the list of houses that aren’t on the market.” I was confused, so she elaborated. “You know, the houses for sale that aren’t publicly announced, so that only the insiders know.”
Since some of the 1% and celebrities often don’t want to publicize where they live and possibly their need to sell, I advised the caller to let a few Manhattan and east end agents know that she’d be interested in certain zip codes in a certain price range.
“No!” she laughed. I am not looking for something pricey-pricey. I’ve just been going around looking for houses for three weeks, and there’s not so much to choose from. My friend bought a house last year and had hundreds to choose from, so I figured there’s a secret list.”
I explained the reasons why there was less inventory now. The summer’s “close by the time school starts” semi-frenzy is over, the post-summer’s “move in before Thanksgiving” houses were already in contract, the bumping along the bottom market prices caused discretionary sellers to step back and watch, and houses in foreclosure are taking longer to get to court and then to market.
“Huh. That’s not good, because these sellers know that they don’t have much competition and won’t be so flexible.”
While that might sometimes be the case, I advised, most who are selling are extremely motivated to make a deal and move on. That should give her some room to negotiate. “Yes, but my friend’s seller was desperate, and that’s better, right?”