This expert advice on house hunting in a hot market will help you in your search!
I tell my buyers their first step should always be to get pre-approved. This is an important first step for a few reasons:
1. You and your realtor will know what kind of budget you are working with.
2. You will find out if you are stretching your budget or perhaps you can afford more!
3. You should know how rising interest rates can affect your monthly payments and purchase price (compare present vs. future!)
4. You may learn how to save time and money by using funds from different types of bank accounts such as Roth IRAs or your 401k.
5. Some sellers will request a pre-approval to book a showing.
6. Lastly, you will need one on file to make an offer!
Work Closely with Your Agent
In today’s market there are so many buyers looking for a new home and a severe lack of inventory! By being the first to see a new listing (and hopefully get in the first offer), this gives you a leg up in that the seller will most likely come to you first with a counter offer or notification of a competing offer, so you will have more control when it comes to negotiation. Also, sometimes sellers are so happy to get a fast offer, they will accept right away and take it off the market (as long as it’s a strong offer!) Make sure your realtor is sending you listings personally via text/email and has you on an automatic listing alert system so you don’t miss anything.
Be Prepared for a Bidding War
In fact, be prepared for multiple bidding wars. In my market, almost every property is going into a highest and best situation. Most of my clients lose the first couple of times, just because they are getting a feel for the market and how it works, but as long as the buyer remains competitive and aggressive, they always end up with a property. My advice is to be decisive, expeditious, and listen to your realtor! Don’t forget we do this every day. If you know and trust your realtor, they will guide you into making a smart decision to reach your ultimate goal of obtaining a property. Remember, not all realtors are the same – do your research and hire a professional!
Do Your Homework
It’s important to be working with an agent you can trust. If they are a referral from a family member or friend and have positive online reviews, that means they have experience and a solid history with their clients. There are multiple situations that may come up in your real estate transaction, and you will want someone to keep your stress levels low and your bank account high. Never do anything you are uncomfortable with. Also, make sure to go see properties that line up with your “check-list”. I recommend 3-5 at a time, and don’t waste any time going to see something ‘just to see it’ – if you know a property won’t match what you are looking for, it’s not fair to waste your realtors’ time and you don’t want to drain yourself mentally by seeing too many properties. Best of luck!