It seems that as soon as a home in our price range goes on the market, it's sold. How can I get ahead of other buyers?
The seller’s market continues to run hot, with lower supply and higher demand. That’s great news if you’re a seller, but getting into a new home as a buyer can be a challenging process. Adopt a few important strategies to get the home you want.
1. Find a good agent. This is your number one tactic. A good real estate agent has an ear to the ground and is often aware of properties going on the market before they’re advertised more broadly. Get an agent you can trust, let the agent know what you are looking for in a home, and you’ve already made your first steps toward success. As a buyer, using a Realtor makes perfect sense because sales commission is usually paid by the seller. You get good information and help with buying strategies on the seller’s dime. If a property comes up that you absolutely love, ask your Realtor to call the selling agent and talk about it. Sometimes, a direct conversation will give you the edge you need in terms of knowing the seller’s priorities.
2. Be careful about negotiation. In a seller’s market, buyers have less leverage when it comes to making offers below the asking price. You obviously want to keep your head on straight in terms of properties that are posted above their value, but keep in mind that your offer on a fairly priced home may be one of many. If it’s lower than the rest, the seller won’t consider it.
3. Make your move. If you see a home in your price range, in a location you like, and with the features you need, make the offer. Sleeping on it usually results in losing a chance to purchase the property.
4. Prepare yourself financially. Talk with your agent about getting pre-approved for a mortgage. Pre-approval will expedite the process when you do make an offer, and it will make you look like a serious buyer. Mortgage loan pre-approval doesn’t obligate you to anything; it’s simply a process of having a lender take a look at your income-debt ratio in order to know how much home you can afford.
5. Avoid contingencies. Sometimes, buyers make an offer contingent upon the sale of their current home, so the seller understands that the deal’s not done until the buyer sells. In a seller’s market, the seller will likely choose a buyer with no contingency clause. If you can, sell your current property and rent on a limited lease until you see the right home. Then, you can make an offer with no strings attached.Overall, be patient and keep your eyes peeled for your next great home. You can get what you want with some perseverance and a good buying strategy.