Buying a home is a momentous decision - and may be an incredible challenge. In many areas, real estate is in what is considered a sellers' market. This means that properties are selling quickly, and sellers are, in many cases, fielding multiple offers on their home. This means they can afford to price their homes higher and wait for a buyer who is willing to pay that price. Unfortunately this means buyers need to be aggressive and prepared. Here are some tips to help you navigate a sellers' market so you can land the home of your dreams.
Look in All the Right Places
Once upon a time, buyers would flip through the newspaper or rely on well-connected real estate agents to find the right home. But today, there are lots of other options. Real estate websites and smart phone applications are invaluable tools for buyers. In most cases, you can save your searches for quick, every day surfing of new listings. In some cases, you can even have instant alerts sent right to your phone or email. This means that as soon as a property is posted that meets your criteria, you can be alerted. For sellers, this is a great tool: it helps their properties get immediate attention. For buyers, it means you can browse a listing within seconds and see a home within hours. Let technology work for you - it makes a huge difference.
Pre-Approval is Essential
When you are a buyer in a sellers' market, you have to be able to move fast. That means having the ability to make an offer right away when you find a place you don't want to miss out on. In this case, you benefit greatly from being pre-approved. Being pre-approved (that is, having a pre-approval letter from a reputable lender) shows sellers you are not only eager, but financially prepared to purchase a home. In a sellers' market where a seller is fielding several offers, your pre-approval may be the factor that swings things in your favor. Pre-approval also helps you to know exactly how much you can afford and may reassure you that your financial life is in order.
Let an Agent Be Your Guide
Having the right agent may make all the difference in finding that perfect place. The 'right' agent is one who is local and able to get out to view properties at a moment's notice. This agent will also be familiar with the neighborhoods in your search area, including details that might be important to you, such as parks, schools, entertainment, and shopping. Besides that, an agent who is knowledgeable about the homes that are available in your market might be able to find properties that aren't listed traditionally. They may be able to guide you to homes that are for sale by owner and don't have an online presence. They may also have the inside scoop on properties that are about to be listed but that haven't hit the official listings yet.
Be Ready to Jump
Ultimately, in a sellers' market, time is not necessarily on the side of the buyer. When you find a place that you love, you need to be not only financially ready to make an offer, but also emotionally as well. Do your research ahead of time. Know that you want to settle down - for however long you choose - in the area. If you have children or will have children, pay attention to the school districts, and don't be afraid to ask questions. If you are leaving family and friends and relocating to a new place, prepare yourself to make that move so that when you make an offer and move through the sometimes-swift closing process, you are prepared in as many ways as possible.
Buying a new home is an investment in your financial future and in your future lifestyle. When the market necessitates a quick offer, the key is to be prepared. Know how to find a home that is perfect for you, and be ready to make an offer fast. Then you can land the home of your dreams.