In today’s highly competitive real estate market, where inventory levels are not keeping up with the constant stream of buyer demand, there are steps you can take to ensure you are most prepared for success when buying a home.
These tips expand on a recent blog by Trulia entitled, The Skinny on Skinny Inventory.
1. Get Pre-Approved
In many markets across the country, the number of buyers searching for their dream homes greatly outnumbers the amount of homes for sale. This has led to a competitive marketplace where buyers often need to stand out. One way to show you are serious about buying your dream home is to get pre-qualified or pre-approved for a mortgage before starting your search.
Even if you are in a market that is not as competitive, knowing your budget will give you the confidence of knowing if your dream home is within your reach.
Freddie Mac lays out the advantages of pre-approval in the My Home section of their website:
“It’s highly recommended that you work with your lender to get pre-approved before you begin house hunting. Pre-approval will tell you how much home you can afford and can help you move faster, and with greater confidence, in competitive markets.”
One of the many advantages of working with a local real estate professional is that many have relationships with lenders who will be able to help you with this process. Once you have selected a lender, you will need to fill out their loan application and provide them with important information regarding “your credit, debt, work history, down payment and residential history.”
Freddie Mac describes the 4 Cs that help determine the amount you will be qualified to borrow:
- Capacity: Your current and future ability to make your payments
- Capital or cash reserves: The money, savings, and investments you have that can be sold quickly for cash
- Collateral: The home, or type of home, that you would like to purchase
- Credit: Your history of paying bills and other debts on time
Getting pre-approved is one of many steps that will show home sellers that you are serious about buying, and it often helps speed up the process once your offer has been accepted.
1. Be Prepared
“Homebuyers should talk with a lender, real estate agent, and a home inspector BEFORE finding a home to make an offer on.”
Being intentional, pre-approved, and prepared will set you up for the accelerated time tables that come with a highly competitive market. If you are the most prepared buyer interested in a home, if you have already secured financial approval, and if you are ready to move fast, your bid will be that much more attractive to a seller.
2. Think Strategically
“Starter homebuyers don’t have a home to sell and can be flexible on closing dates compared to homebuyers who are also trying to sell at the same time.”
If you are one of the many first-time buyers looking for your dream home, know that being strategic and flexible about closing dates can also help your offer stand out from the rest. But don’t fret if you are a homeowner who will also have to sell your own house first – be upfront about your timeline with your agent and with any offers you make.
3. Seek Out the Ugly Ducklings
“Buyers might consider looking for homes that have been on the market for a while and investigate why. The reasons may be a deal-killer but all it takes is one ugly duckling to turn into a swan.”
Finding a fixer-upper or a home that needs a little love might be your best way to guarantee that you are able to find a home in the neighborhood that you want. The worst house on the best block will go for a steal and offer instant equity once you fix it up!
In today’s market, full of bidding wars and tough competition, finding ways to stand out from the rest by getting creative will improve your chances of having a home to call your own.