In a seller’s market, home buyers need to be willing and able to act fast to snag the home they want. This Spring, areas across the country were facing a limited number of homes for sale especially in the entry level price range.  A number of buyers have left the market or have already bought a home this year.  So Now, is a very good time to be in the market to buy a home.  It’s still a sellers market in the middle and entry level price ranges but getting easier to buy the perfect home without multiple offers to compete with.  

Here is my cheat sheet to give homebuyers the edge in the late Summer and Fall market.

1. Find A Realtor:

Find a Realtor and have a face to face meeting and interview 2 or 3.  Hire a full time Realtor! 

In this market you need to be represented by the best Full Time Realtor you can find.  Not by your brother in-laws mother who does real estate part time and does 1 or 2 deals per year.  How can anyone be good at what they do it they only do it once or twice a year?  You’ll want to sign a Buyers Rep agreement with your choice of Realtor to represent you in the transaction.   Why?  Because without the buyers representation agreement the Realtor is just a door unlocker.  Without this agreement you are a customer with no representation with the agreement you are a client who is represented by a Real Estate sales Professional.  

2.Get Pre-Qualified:

A lot of buyers want to take this step after they find a home they want to buy.  This is too late.  It will take 24 to 72 hours to get you pre-qualified after you have sent in the required documentation to the loan officer.  You can get Pre-approved over the phone but that doesn’t hold much value for a seller because income, debt, credit and employment have not been verified.  It’s heart breaking for a buyer to find the perfect home without being pre-qualified and loose it because their offer wasn’t considered for lack of this important part of their offer.  Even if you are a cash buyer the seller will want a letter from your bank with Proof Of Funds or a POF.

3. Do Your Research:

The internet and your Realtor offers a ton of information about locations, traffic flows, schools, shopping, lifestyle etc.  Take advantage of that information.  Just remember this, you change almost anything about the property except the location.

4. Be On Call :

If you’re only looking now and then when it’s convenient, you’re probably wasting your time.  Here’s why.  The well priced move in ready home in desirable areas are selling with multiple offers within the first 1 to 3 days.  If you wait until it’s convenient for you, chances are it will already be sold by the time you go look.  Now as you move up the price range homes aren’t selling so fast so you do have a little more flexibility.  Even so, as short as inventory is.  My advice is to look at a home you love online ASAP.

5. Limit the contingencies: 

In a seller’s market, buyers may need to drop some of the contingencies to score the house. Sellers prefer the fewest number of hurdles to close as possible. If buyers come in with several contingencies, such as  “if they secure financing” or “the sale of other property” the sellers are more inclined to bypass those offers and take another offer with less hassle.  With contingencies you’ll loose leverage for negotiating a better price too.

Also, don’t waste your time lowballing a seller.  Keep this in mind.  The listing price, generally is the starting bid.  Quality listing agents will generally have the property priced correctly.  There is too much information available to the public for you to buy a home at 60% of value.  If you want to buy a house be prepared to pay a fair price.  Beat up a seller on the price and they will get pretty sour moving forward with any other concessions you may want from them.

6. Cast a wide net:

 Search for homes outside prime locations if faced with limited or high-priced choices. Buyers need to carefully consider what they’re willing to compromise on. 

Sometimes properties sit, even in a seller’s market, because of a problem that is scaring other buyers away. Those “flaws,” however, might not be a big deal to some buyers and not so much to other buyers.  Finding a house this way can also cut down on the amount of competition you will face.

In closing, a good full time Realtor can guide you through the process and help you achieve the best case scenario for you and your family.