Real Estate

Highly Competitive DC Real Estate Market Is Leaving Inexperienced Home Shoppers Frustrated

The state of the DC  real estate market is today far different than it was two – three years ago. As the Spring, 2013 real estate market approaches, big changes have occurred both in downtown market activity as well as homebuyers’ perceptions of the market.

Positive national real estate news, stronger economic data nationwide and in the DC market, consistent low mortgage rates and an increase in average D.C. rental costs all contribute to increased demand in the current DC real estate market. “All of the positive indicators combined with a decrease in the supply of available homes have created a sense of urgency for homebuyers that was simply not a factor in 2011 and most of 2012,” said Gerard DiRuggiero, Principal Broker at UrbanLand Company.

“We literally are seeing home shoppers coming out of the woodwork on our weekend Open Houses, with multiple offers and aggressive bidding being the norm,” continued DiRuggiero. “And of course, we are also seeing real disappointment in the eyes of home shoppers when they lose out and properties sell to competing bidders.”

It’s essential in a competitive market for serious home shoppers to consider full service real estate agent representation during their home search. Many home shoppers have chosen national discount brokerages, companies that offer major cuts in commission if the home shopper is willing to operate on a partial ‘do-it-yourself’ basis. The end result is a glut of inexperienced home shoppers without adequate knowledge on how to actually acquire a property in a competitive market.

“Our goal as a real estate brokerage is to provide real value, education and the management of expectations to home shoppers who choose the UrbanLand team,” stated DiRuggiero. Here are some of things to look for when selecting realtor representation in the DC  market:

Who is your point of contact throughout the process?
Many discount brokerages have attempted to decentralize the service process, with various staff members participating in the initial appointments, property showings, the issuing and management of offers and the contract, the home inspection process, etc. With a full service, private brokerage, you can have one point of contact and one true ‘real estate agent’ who is working to both represent your best interests and make sure that you actually can successfully purchase the property you want.

Are you able to find homes that meet your criteria in time to get a fair shot?
If you feel like you are constantly looking at properties that have ‘just sold’, then you are most likely are not receiving the ideal amount of attention you need. The UrbanLand Company team represents both normal buyers and sellers as well as a large number of condominium developers in the DC market, meaning our agents have the inside line on new condo units well before they are available. In some situations, our developer clients will allow buyers to pre-purchase new condo units before Grand Opening.

Will the brokerage be investing enough time in helping you purchase?
Because they are handling large numbers of potential buyers, many of the discount brokerages use a boilerplate approach when managing the offer and negotiation process. In a competitive market, first offers almost never are approved and multiple strategies are needed in order to successfully complete the transaction with the seller. A savvy real estate agent knows that buying a home is a process and not just a ‘sale’. It takes the ability to custom-tailor the offer and negotiation process, and most importantly, time spent with the home shopper in managing their expectations during the home search.

“It all comes down to how much time and attention is being spent by the agent on your behalf. You would be surprised at how many home shoppers that ‘already have an agent’ walk into our Open Houses alone and without their agent present,” concluded Gerard. “The bottom line is: if you want aggressive, full service representation, it is available when you consider a private local brokerage.”

UrbanLand Company is a downtown DC real estate brokerage headquartered in the U Street corridor. They offer full service property search and transaction management for homebuyers well as free market analyses and consultation to homeowners wishing to potentially sell their DC property. If you would like to explore listing your current property for sale or are interested in finding a property to purchase, please contact


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