How to get the best deals on your dream home in a tight real estate market
When the number of homes for sale is low, trying to get a great price on that dream home can be challenging. However I have provided some suggestions that will help you get that dream at a price that works within your budget.
1. Call and speak to a good mortgage company and get pre-qualified before you start the search for your home. When you get the pre-qualification letter from the lender, you are not under any obligation to use this company for your loan. Also a pre-approval letter will show the seller that you are serious about the home you want to buy and that you should not have any issues in getting financed.
2. Hire a full-time seasoned REALTOR who is licensed. A great agent cost just as much as hiring a new agent – zero! When you purchase a new home you pay no commissions to buy that home. Talk to friends and recommendations, then check out the agents reviews. Make sure that your agent can respond at a moment’s notice, you’ll see why below. Experienced agents can also provide you with excellent lenders, inspectors, appraisers, handymen, etc. which you will need going through the process.
3. Zillow and Trulia are “yesterday’s news”. While these sites and other national sites are very user friendly and can get your thought process started, their data is not always up-to-date. A licensed REALTOR will have access to the local MLS systems (FMLS & GMLS) which is where all homes get first inputted into the system and the local MLS systems are where the national sites get their information.
4. In a tight market you want to know immediately when a house goes on the market so have your agent set up an “ASAP” search in the system. This is a discreet button that only REALTORS have access to that sets the system up to send you homes that go on the market with the criteria you are searching for within 15 minutes of going on the market. These SAME homes may not hit Zillow or Trulia for DAYS!
5. When you see a home you like, text or call your agent IMMEDIATELY and set up a time to see it as soon as possible. Even if there are NO PICTURES, but the description sounds inviting, look it up on Google Streets to see what the front looks like.
6. Go see the house with your agent right away. Hire a licensed REALTOR that is well versed in many of the pitfalls of buying a home such as defective polybutylene piping, synthetic stucco, LP siding, radon gas, and other expensive repairs. It’s good to know about these things the first time you see the home, and not after you have paid an inspector.
7. Be prepared to submit an offer. Have your agent check the similar sales in the area and go for it. Make your offer as clean as possible. If the home is pristine, just went on the market, don’t “low ball” the seller and submit a fair offer if you really want the house. Reasonable offers have a much better chance of being either accepted, or counter-offered. As the buyer, time is on your side and you have the right to request repairs or even terminate the contract during the due diligence/inspection period (usually 10-14 days of binding contract). If the home needs work, adjust your offer accordingly or even terminate the contract.
8. If the seller receives multiple offers, they may opt to request everyone’s “Highest And Best” offers. Your REALTOR will guide you through tweaking your offer to make it more favorable and hopefully the chose contract.