In recession, homebuyers’ attitudes shifting-WEB ONLY

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The spring selling season is traditionally one of the busiest for area real estate agents, but this year brokers say they’re confronting a new challenge: buyers’ emotions.

With the economy in a slump, agents say today’s homebuyers are often protracting negotiations, making extreme low-ball bids and pushing for major repairs and improvements before they’ll sign a contract.

“For some reason, buyers seem to expect that all properties should be able to be bought at foreclosure prices,” said Kurt Flock of Flock Realty Group. “When you do see purchase agreements, they typically are coming in lower than you might expect … negotiations take longer and home inspections present a whole additional round of fun for all parties involved.”

It’s all part of what experts describe as a changing market psychology.

Since buyers sense they have an upper hand, many naturally push for better and better deals, said Lois A. Vitt, who wrote a book on real estate psychology entitled, “10 Secrets to Successful Home Buying and Selling.”

“Home sales are down so much, it makes sense for a consumer who is in the market to try to get as low a price as possible,” Vitt said. “They hear the market news all around and they are much more inclined today to make price their number one housing factor.”

Local homeowners say buyers are becoming increasingly brazen, making cut-rate offers in hopes that desperate sellers will accept substantial discounts.

Zionsville resident Justin Davis, for instance, put his four-bedroom, 3,600-square-foot home on the market three weeks ago for $224,900. One potential buyer offered to purchase it for $60,000 less than the asking price. Davis balked.

“Like, dude, are you kidding me,” he said in response to the offer. “This isn’t Las Vegas, this isn’t Palm Beach, Florida; the housing market hasn’t necessarily crashed here.”

His house is already priced so low that he likely won’t make a profit on it, he said, so a large price reduction is out of the question.

For someone to get $60,000 less than we’re asking in Zionsville, Indiana – which has the number one school district in the state – is outrageous,” he said.

Yet such an attitude may be part of the norm, as anxieties remain high among both buyers and sellers, said Noblesville resident Pat McAndrews.

McAndrews is selling his four-bedroom house for $163,500. It’s been on the market for three weeks, and while he says buyers exist, many are solely focused on price.

As sellers gripe, buyers see an upside in the current market.

Carmel resident Trevor Ocock, who’s looking for a new house, says property owners now may be more open to making changes or upgrading their properties, something that didn’t always happen in the past.

“I have been told ‘no’ in the past when the market was different,” he said. “I’d be willing to bet now that if we ask for some of those things, I would imagine the average buyer would be willing to say ‘yes.'”

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