First off, let me say that I’m not a realtor (though I’m seriously considering becoming one after seeing this market; the homes sell themselves), but I do feel like I’ve picked up on some things as a buyer after going through the process of trying to find a home in a competitive market.
Everyone’s experience is a little different, but I’ve come up with this list based on what we’ve gone through during this home buying process. We went through 4 offers before finally making a deal, which was pretty exhausting. Through the ups and downs, I kept telling myself that it could be worse. I feel so thankful that our home back east sold, especially during such a cold, harsh winter.
The market back east and the market here are complete opposites. While we only had one solid offer on our old home, we were here competing with multiple offers on multiple houses. It’s a seller’s dream out here.
Anyway, I wanted to share some things we’ve picked up on to hopefully help someone else who will be moving to a competitive market.
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Homes are shown within hours of being listed and sometimes, offers are made before most people will even get to see it go live online. It’s a good idea to sign up for email alerts so you receive a notification every time a home is listed for sale in the area you want, but an even better idea is to find a good realtor who can find homes for you that are in “coming soon” status. These are homes that are hitting the market within a day or so. If you can get the first look at one of these homes before hundreds of other people, you have a better chance of going under contract. Once you get a first look at a home, it’s a good idea to try your best to be an easy buyer. An easy buyer offers a quick closing and schedules their inspection quickly as well.
Have Your Finances Ready
Get pre-approved for your loan and get all of your paperwork in order before you start making offers. If you can make a cash offer, do it. If you are using a loan like a VA loan or FHA loan with little or no down payment, it is especially important to have all of your paperwork together to prove to the seller that you are ready to have a quick and painless transaction. When a housing market is hot, the seller knows they will get multiple offers, so you need to make yours look as enticing as possible.
No Contingency is Preferred
In a seller’s market, a contingent offer is quite often looked over. There are multiple offers coming in and waiting for a buyer to sell their own home is a hassle and a risk. When we started looking for homes for sale, we hadn’t sold our own home yet. Our realtor warned us that we could make offers if we wanted to, but it would be best to wait until our own home was in escrow. It would be a much stronger offer if our own home was under contract, and even better once sold.
Make Your Top Offer
Once you find a home you like, take a quick look at recent sales in the area and be ready to make your top offer. This may mean offering a little more than asking price. This seemed crazy to me because I’m used to the market at home where you typically offer a lower number than asking price and end up negotiating somewhere in the middle. Depending on how you’re financing and if your offer will be contingent or not, you’ll want to consider offering a little more than asking.
Don’t Expect To Find The Perfect Home
In a competitive market, you will most likely have to “let go” of some of your wish list items for your new home. Certain color kitchen cabinets, a huge yard, exact location, a certain size garage.. even a usable driveway in our case was something we would have to live without on some of the homes we looked at. *The house we are getting DOES in fact have a big enough driveway to actually park in. Never knew there were driveways too short to park in!
It was a long, exhausting process but we finally made a deal and got a house. We actually closed yesterday and our flooring company is arriving this morning to start the new floors. While we didn’t get all of our wish list items on this home, we are able to make it our own! I can’t wait to share the before and after pictures with you all!