When selling and buying homes, there are three types of real estate markets: buyer’s market, seller’s market and a neutral market. When experiencing a seller’s market, there is a higher demand for homes than the supply has to offer. With not enough homes for sale, buyers tend to compete for the same available homes – which can drive prices up.
Here are some tips home buyers need to know when buying a home in a seller’s market:
One – Get Mortgage Pre-Approval
You need to know how much home you can afford in order to make an offer on a home, especially in a seller’s market. It is a good idea to become pre-qualified for a mortgage loan to figure out that budget. Once pre-qualified, you can provide a pre-approval letter when making an offer which lets the seller know you are a serious buyer.
Two – Work with a Real Estate Agent
Working with a real estate agent is vital in a seller’s market. Homes that come onto market may sell in a matter of hours. Your real estate agent will be in tune with the availability of new homes for sale so you can act quickly. If there are no homes on the market in the area you desire to live, your agent can reach out to that area’s homeowners to see if they would be willing to sell.
Try to be one of the first showings with your agent. If you delay until the weekend, the home may be sold.
Three – Do Your Research
Knowing where you want to live and what your housing requirements are is important in a seller’s market. Communicate to your agent what home features are a must and those you would like to have but could do without. In this type of market, finding a home with everything on your list probably will not happen. It is best to look for potential in a home to make it work for you. But, do not buy a home you do not love. Remember, you will be living there for at least five years if not longer.
Four – Fast Offer
You may need to act fast with your offer on a home in a seller’s market. A low-ball offer will not work in this type of market. Be prepared to offer full price or over-the-asking price.
When you make an offer, it may work in your favor to find out why the seller is moving so you can figure out what kind of closing date to offer. Making things easier for the seller could work to your advantage. Make your best offer first and be prepared for a bidding war.
Five – Cash Offer
Cash offers and strong earnest money deposits indicate a serious buyer.
Six – Fewer Contingencies (A Clean Offer)
There are usually a few contingencies (such as the home inspection) in a purchase contract. In a seller’s market, the fewer contingencies, the more attractive your contract will look to the seller.
Counter offers are not always advisable in a seller’s market. The seller does not need to write a counter and can move on to the next offer.
A seller can accept only one offer. If your offer is rejected, remember the home seller wants to make the most money with the least inconvenience. In addition to price, the seller may have accepted another offer that offered better terms (larger cash up front, fewer or no contingencies, already pre-approved for a mortgage, etc…)
If your offer is not accepted, keep your spirits up. There will be another home that meets your needs and soon become your dream home.