Playing to Win in the Seller’s Market-Tips for Buyers
The Real Estate market is recovering and moving quickly in my market. A fast-moving market means that Buyers who find the perfect home should be prepared to make an offer the day they find it. Those who “want to sleep on it” may lose out on the property or find themselves in competition for the home due to multiple offers.
A buyer should take these steps to ensure that they are prepared to move forward when they find a property that they love:
- a) Select the “right” real estate agent. The agent should be someone you can trust, someone who listens to your needs and has your family’s interests in mind. The “right” agent is likely to have experience working with buyers and be knowledgeable on the neighborhoods you’re most interested in.
- b) Contact a lender and get a pre-approval letter. Many buyers want to skip this step and find the home first. It is imperative in today’s market that you secure the pre-approval letter before you go out the first time. You will not only know what price point you are approved to buy, but you will be ready to make the offer when you find the “right” home.
- c) Have the Down Payment and Earnest Money funds available It is customary in my for buyers to put 1% down as earnest money (median priced homes). Check with your agent to see what is customary in your market. The down payment will vary depending on the type of mortgage that fits your needs. Generally, FHA loans require 3.5% of the loan value (i.e., a $100,000 sales price results in a $3,500 down payment). Check with your lender to see what loan type fits your needs.
- d) Check out neighborhoods you are interested in, for example, the school district, Homeowners Association restrictions, access to major roadways, shopping and restaurants. This step is easier if you already live in the city where you want to buy a home. If you are new to the area, decide what is important to you and ask your agent for help finding it.
- e) Check local websites for crime statistics in the area (if that is an important factor for your family).
- f) Most buyers’ shop for homes on the web. Your agent has likely been sending current market listings for your review. If that’s the case, you are ready to schedule appointments and tour a few homes. If you’ve followed the ideas listed above, you are ready to make an offer when you find the home of your dreams.