Along with a newly present crispness in the air, the fall rush to find a Coastside home is palpable. The word on the street is: the market is hot due to an unseasonable influx of interest.

Buyer activity feels high. There is a steady push of out-of-area buyers rethinking, relocating, and restrategizing for our new work and play from home lifestyles. What better place to find space for all three than the Coastside? Due to the pandemic we are seeing a great migration. Those in the city are moving to the country and those in the country are moving to the mountains.

From Pacifica to Pescadero, the average days to sell a home is hovering around 30 days for August and September. This time last year it took 49 days on the market on average for a home to sell. The average list price in September was $1,256,052, and coastal homes are consistently selling around 1 percent over asking price (on average) in 2020. Finally, in comparison with last September, sale prices are up by around $100,000. All in all, the numbers back up what many of us local Realtors are experiencing: Coastside living is in high demand.

If you or someone you know is trying to buy nearby, here are a few hot tips for a hot market (when you don’t have an unlimited budget).

1. Urgency! What could possibly be more important than choosing where you live? Do not hit the snooze on that new listing please. Get up and go check out that dream property now! Your competition won’t wait.

2. Get your ducks (and finances) in a row. You’re going to need to pay to play in today’s market; there’s no way around it. Start a relationship with a credible lender now, unfreeze your credit, grab that pre-approval letter. You get bonus points for beginning the loan process with your lender and going the extra mile. Get fully underwritten/credit approved prior to offering. That way, you can tighten up your close-of-escrow timeline and present a more competitive offer package.

3. Put your best foot forward. While there is a time and a place for hiding an ace up your sleeve, a multiple offer situation is not one of them. Of course, you’ll take the comparables and condition of the property into consideration when formulating your offer. That said, if there are multiple bidders you might need to start with the best you’ve got to stay in the game. At the end of the day, a home is worth what someone is willing to pay for it.

This market may seem intimidating, but when you’re a buyer you get to dream up your own future for a space. A little flexibility, creativity and the understanding that all properties come with highs and lows can go a long way. Sellers can base their list price on historical data and what’s right in front of them. As buyers you have the opportunity to purchase potential. That huge master bath slathered in bubblegum tile (no disrespect, I for one do believe pink tile can be employed beautifully!) could be the future birthplace of your Zen modernist vision come to life.

It has been said, the only thing you cannot change about a home is its location. If location is paramount to you, be flexible in your search. Nothing will keep you renting for years like searching for the perfect home in your perfect location.

With all of our unique neighborhoods and stunning natural landscapes, it’s no wonder that buyers are hurrying “over the hill” pre-holidays this year.

Karina Ballantyne is a Realtor with Ocean Blue Realty in Half Moon Bay. She can be reached at karina@oceanbluere.com or by calling (650) 483-1952.

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