Homebuyers looking for a bargain will have better luck finding deals on home décor at the dollar store than in housing this year. In some cases, even if a home needs major repairs, seller’s have the upper hand and can ask what they want. That’s because available houses are lagging far behind the demand. If you are looking to buy, make sure and leverage all of the advantages available to you.
Experts suggest the following strategies to help you compete and get into the house you want, even in a competitive market.
- Mortgage preapproval
Before you even start house hunting, the one hard and fast rule all experts agree will make the homebuying process easier is to obtain a mortgage preapproval from their lender. This means a lender has verified your finances and that you are a good credit risk so you can quickly move in. Preapprovals have spiked in the past couple of months, with two-thirds being first-time buyers.
- Find homes under your price point
Stories abound of multiple bidders on one home. This is not an exaggeration – it’s the reality of housing markets across the U.S. As a buyer, you should look for homes at the lower range of your budget in case you have to raise your bid to get the home you want. That way if you do have to bid up, you won’t break your budget or have to pass on the home you love.
- Allow extra time if you are borrowing the down payment
Many first-time homebuyers borrow money for a down payment. If that is the case for you, be sure you allow extra time for that process. Your lender will want to walk you through the process, and you may need a letter from the person giving you the money explaining it won’t need to be repaid. They will also want to verify the account the funds are coming from to ensure it is a valid account. All this takes some time, so factor it into your timeline.
- Find the best real estate agent
A preeminent real estate agent is your secret weapon. Find one that has a solid understanding of the area you are interested in and has top-notch negotiating skills. They will have great connections which will be invaluable to you in countless ways. Our Homes and Lakeshore team is ready with the experience you need in today’s housing market. Don’t be afraid to interview us ahead of time! Due to our long history not only in sales, but in living and working in the area, we are the most familiar with neighborhoods, lakes and towns.
- Find several houses that you would love to live in
Don’t get fixated on just one house, have a second choice and third choice to avoid disappointment if you are outbid.
- Negotiating is more than just the price
Buying a home is about more than the price. Find out what might be important to the seller that might give you the upper hand in negotiations. There may be other conveniences or contingencies that the seller would consider. That is where your agent may be able to help.
- Expand your search
Know what you want. A coveted neighborhood will come with a hefty price tag, but if you are willing to concede that other areas may also have what you need, you will have more options. Identify your priorities: Would you be willing to live a bit farther from town to have more space or a bigger yard? Have you considered other nearby towns? What parks and recreation opportunities are nearby? What about public transportation, if that is what you will use to get around? Be sure the amenities are in line with what you value most, which means you may find yourself in an unexpected, but equally satisfying neighborhood.
Today’s market is difficult, but not impossible for today’s buyers. Follow these top 7 tips, and you will have the best chance of succeeding, even with competition.