We won’t sugar coat this: entering the housing market when seller’s hold all the chips means you’re going to have to do everything in your power to prepare for battle. It’s going to be tough to find a house in today’s housing market because inventory is low, as 87% of real estate agents who took part in HomeLight’s 2020 Q3 survey.
Don’t worry though – all hope’s not lost! Here are five tips that’ll prepare you for a competitive market and land the house of your dreams.
1. Learn all you can about your new neighborhood
Whether you’re going to a new job, going on vacation, or looking for a new doctor, you’re going to do your research so you can make sure you know what you’re getting into. The same amount of research should go into the area where you’re hoping to move into.
You’ll want to know what the school district is like, if there’s an HOA for your development, if there’s access to public transportation and so on. You’ll also want to scan real estate listing sites to get an idea of how far your budget will go toward finding your perfect house.
2. Get your mortgage pre-approved
When you go into a real estate office, a mortgage pre-approval letter will let the agent know you’re serious about buying a house and they’ll know how much you’re able to spend. The letter can also be used as a bargaining chip when making an offer because it tells the seller that you’re primed and ready to go.
3. Hire a highly qualified real estate agent
The pre-approval letter we mentioned is a good thing to have when you’re looking for an agent, but you don’t want to show your cards just yet. You need to do your homework to find agents who are highly respected in the community, who have plenty of experience selling homes in your price range, and give off the vibe that they’ll go above and beyond for you.
Why is doing your homework so important before hiring anyone? It’s because the real estate agent you hire is going to play a huge role in sealing the deal and you want to make sure you find someone who is going to work in your best interest.
4. Make an offer the seller can’t refuse
No one wants to spend more money than they have to, right? Of course not! Why pay full price if you can negotiate a lower price? In a seller’s market, you can make a low ball offer, but it’s not going to turn out like you’d hope. Since it’s a seller’s market, 87% of agents said their clients are submitting offers above asking. They’re doing this because the sellers are likely to receive multiple offers and they won’t even entertain a low ball offer.
Your best bet when making an offer is to make it as appealing as possible. You can bid at or slightly higher than asking price. You can submit a clean offer, meaning there’s no contingencies, no buyer repair requests or asking the seller to pitch in on closing costs.
Ask your agent what would be the best course of action to ensure your offer will be considered and/or accepted.
5. Include a personalized letter with your offer
You might not think a personal letter would be something that could sway a seller to accept your offer, but 61% of agents say their clients are using this strategy and get good results. Buyers who submit a personal letter shows the seller how important their house is to the family and it shows them that their home will be in good hands. After all, it can be hard to sell a house you’ve created so many memories in! It’s understandable that the seller would want to make sure the new owner will love the home as much as they did.
The housing market is always changing and now may be the right time for you to make your move. Before you do anything, heed our advice. You can never be too prepared when entering a strong seller’s market, especially if you’re looking for a house in a desirable area!