5 Keys to Being a Smart Buyer in a Seller’s Market
Statistics from National Association of REALTORS and the NWMLS are showing this is the strongest real estate market since before the recession, and due to low inventory it is a “seller’s market” in many areas. That is great news if you need or want to sell your home as sellers are often receiving multiple offers for amounts above asking price and homes are selling quickly, even in one day in some cases! But what if you are a buyer Never fear, there are good homes out there and with the help of a real estate professional you can put together a plan to help you find a great home at a fair price. Here are some tips that will aid you in finding the best deal.
1. Check your credit in advance. - Everyone in this day and age should be familiar with their credit report, if for no other reason than to make sure you are not the victim of identity theft. Ideally you should review your report quarterly but even if you have never looked at it before, now, when you are thinking about buying a home is the time to check it out. You can get a free credit report from Credit Karma at www.creditkarma.com. Once you review it, address anything that looks suspicious or like a mistake and get it corrected before you apply for a loan. This brings us to number 2…
2. Get Pre-approved – this is a good idea in any market but it is essential in a Seller’s market. Any real estate agent who is truly a professional will not even show you homes without a pre-approval letter and sellers do not need to entertain offers in this market from buyers who are not proven qualified to purchase their property. Plus, you need to know what your budget is going to be for your purchase, which leads us to number 3….
3. Stick to your budget – It’s easy to fall in love when you are looking at homes and it’s inevitably crushing when you find out there are multiple offers on the home of your dreams and you cannot afford to compete in the bidding. In a seller’s market there are often multiple offers at play and if you start out looking at homes in the top range of the price you are approved for there is no room to compete and you are sure to come out disappointed.
4. Be prepared to act quickly and make a competitive offer – things move quickly in a seller’s market with homes often getting multiple offers within the first few days of being listed so don’t waffle or be wishy-washy. Now this doesn’t mean you have to get crazy, this is the biggest purchase of your life! Do your homework, look around and know the prices of the homes in the neighborhood where you want to live. Know what your priorities are and where you are willing to compromise so that when you find “The One,” you can move quickly to make a decision and put in an offer. Then, make sure your offer is competitive. This type of market is not the time to lowball or look for a “steal”. You may just get a flat out refusal of your offer if the seller has multiple offers to choose from.
5. Find a good Home Inspector – Despite it being a seller’s market, don’t overlook a home inspection. Especially in this market where you may end up paying top dollar for a home, make sure to protect your investment by knowing what you are getting. If you end up in a competitive bid situation and spend to the top of your budget purchasing the home, the last thing you want to find out after closing is that you need to pony up more money for costly repairs that you were unaware of. A good home inspection is worth the cost in peace of mind.
One final key is to find a great real estate professional to guide you and help you come up with a game plan to navigate this market. Ask friends and family for names of real estate agents they have worked with in the past who have provided a great experience and become a trusted advisor.
Century 21 North Homes Realty, Inc