For the first time in a while, we are not talking about low home values. We are actually describing the number of homes currently for sale in the local Cleveland real estate market.

Take a look at the numbers below of current listings in some of the area's more popular suburbs:

CITY                                ACTIVE LISTINGS

Aurora                                        67

Beachwood                                  33

Bainbridge                                    65

Chagrin Falls                                 39

Hudson                                        95

Lakewood                                     91

Pepper Pike                                   47

Rocky River                                   76

Solon                                           97

Westlake                                      91

 

Can you imagine what it's like buying a home in Beachwood? There are only 33 homes for sale in the entire city, meaning there's only a handful in any given price point.

Low inventories have actually been a problem for a while now and will continue to present a challenge for anyone entering the real estate market this year.

 

CHALLENGES FOR BUYERS AND SELLERS

Here is what low inventories mean:

FOR BUYERS:

1.   Harder to find a home

2.   Increased Competition

3.   Higher Prices

4.   Less Negotiating Power

5.   Must Be More Flexible

FOR SELLERS:

1.   Easier To Sell

2.   Increased Confidence

3.   Higher Prices

4.   More Leverage

5.   Easier To Buy Another Home

TIPS FOR BUYERS AND SELLERS IN 2013

The most important thing to do if you are buying a home this year is to get pre-approved up front. Waiting until the last minute to get your financing in order may be too late. Limited inventory causes competition ( bidding wars! ) and without a firm pre-approval, you will be negotiating from a weakened position.

Hire a buyer's agent. A good agent will be aware of homes that are available but not yet on the market. Agents are very resourceful and can work their network to find homes for their buyers.

If you are selling this year, get your home on the market as soon as possible. Right now you have less competition and, if priced properly, could really benefit. Make sure your home shows well and is priced properly.

Low inventories bring a new dimension to our local real estate market. However, compared to the rough years we saw during the recession, this is a good problem to have.