Our Real Estate Blog
In a competitive housing market--like the one we have today--sellers are fielding numerous offers, especially in desirable urban and suburban hubs.
If you’re hoping to buy your first or second home, it can be tough to make offer after offer with no success.
However, there are some things you can do to help ensure your time house hunting is well-spent and to increase your chances of getting your offer accepted.
In today’s post, I’m going to give you a few tips on how to win a bidding war on your dream home.
The most effective way to ensure that your offer is accepted is to make it in all cash. Cash offers drastically simplify the real estate transaction process, making things easier on the seller.
Most buyers, especially first-time buyers, won’t be able to make an all-cash offer on a home. However, people who are downsizing after their children moved out or are buying a retirement home may find themselves in the ideal financial situation to be able to leverage a cash offer.
If that sounds like you, consider a cash offer as part of your bidding strategy.
Waive the financing contingency
If you’re new to real estate contracts, you might be wondering what a contingency is. Essentially, a contingency is an action that needs to be completed before the contract becomes valid and the sale becomes final.
There are a number of different contingencies that can be found in a real estate contract. However, the most popular are for inspections, appraisals, and financing.
If you’re planning on taking out a mortgage to purchase the home, a financing contingency protects you in case you aren’t able to secure the mortgage in time. In other words, you’re not on the hook for a home you can’t pay for.
In some special situations, buyers might decide to waive the financing contingency, signaling to the sellers that there won’t be any hang-ups or delays from the buyer regarding financing the home.
Waiving this contingency comes with risks (namely, being responsible for coming up with the money to pay for the home). However, there are ways to safely waive a contingency.
The most common approach is to get a fully pre-approved letter from a lender. The important distinction here is that your mortgage needs to be pre-approved and underwritten (not just pre-qualified), otherwise you again risk getting denied the mortgage in the last moments before buying your home.
Crafting a personal letter
Sometimes all it takes to win a bidding war is to be the seller’s favorite candidate. Take the time to write them a personalized letter. Explain what you love about their home and why it’s perfect for your family.
Avoid talking about big changes you’ll make. Remember that they probably put a lot of time and money into the home, making it exactly the way they want it, and won’t appreciate you making huge plans to undo their work as soon as they’re out the door.
Using one, or a combination of, these three techniques, you’ll be able to give yourself an edge over the competition and increase your chances of getting your offer accepted.
An open house may prove to be exceedingly important, particularly for a buyer who plans ahead and makes the most of this opportunity. Because if a buyer enters an open house with a plan in hand, he or she can gain the necessary insights to determine whether to set up a home showing or consider other residences.
Now, let's take a look at three things that every buyer needs to know about open houses.
1. Open houses generally take place on weekends.
If you plan to pursue a home in the near future, you may want to keep your weekends open. That way, you can attend as many open houses as possible and boost the likelihood of discovering your ideal residence.
Most open houses are held on Saturdays and Sundays, and these events may begin late in the morning and end late in the afternoon. There is no requirement to attend an open house as soon as it begins. However, it is important to remember that the early bird catches the worm. And the sooner you attend an open house, the sooner you can determine whether a residence is right for you.
2. Each open house is designed to provide a stress-free experience.
During an open house, you can walk around a residence and explore all aspects of a home at your own pace. Meanwhile, a seller's real estate agent is present and can respond to your concerns or questions as well.
Oftentimes, it helps to craft a list of questions prior to an open house. This will enable you to receive immediate responses to your queries from a seller's real estate agent.
You also may want to carry a notepad and pencil with you as you walk through an open house. This will allow you to keep track of any notable home features or flaws, and ultimately, weigh the pros and cons of a residence.
3. An open house provides no guarantees.
There is no guarantee that you'll find your dream residence during the first open house you attend. In fact, you may need to attend dozens of open house events before you discover a home that matches or exceeds your expectations.
As a buyer, there is no need to leave anything to chance as you search for your ideal house. And if you collaborate with a real estate agent, you can stay up to date about open house events for residences that correspond to your homebuying criteria.
A real estate agent is a property buying expert and will do everything possible to help you discover your dream house. In addition to keeping you informed about open house events, a real estate agent will set up home showings and offer homebuying recommendations and suggestions. By doing so, a real estate agent will help you achieve the best-possible results during the property buying journey.
Hire a local real estate agent today, and you can take the first step to find and buy your dream house.
You don't need to be a real estate market expert to find and acquire a great house at a budget-friendly price. In fact, if you use common sense during your home search, you should have no trouble achieving your desired homebuying results.
Now, let's take a look at three tips to help you discover your dream home.
1. Consider Your Home Must-Haves
You know you want to purchase a house, but you still have no idea what defines your ideal residence. However, if you devote time and resources to establish home must-haves, you could speed up your house search.
Think about what will make you happy and what you need from a house. For example, if you want to own a home that is close to your office in the city, you can narrow your home search to residences in or near the city itself. On the other hand, if you require a home that offers multiple bedrooms, you can explore residences that match your needs.
2. Create a Budget
A budget often plays a key role in the homebuying journey. And if you fail to create a budget before you start a house search, you risk checking out residences that fall outside your price range.
To establish a homebuying budget, you should consider your current and future expenses. It may be helpful to make a list of your expenses and compare them against your income. Then, you can determine exactly how much you can afford to pay for a home.
You may want to get pre-approved for a mortgage, too. If you enter the housing market with a mortgage in hand, you can search exclusively for houses that you can afford.
3. Work with a Real Estate Agent
There is no reason to search for your dream home on your own. If you hire a real estate agent, you can receive comprehensive guidance as you explore houses in your preferred cities and towns.
Typically, a real estate agent is willing to go the extra mile to help you achieve the best-possible results. If you want to purchase a home near a beach, for example, a real estate agent can help you do just that. Conversely, if you want to acquire a top-notch house as quickly as possible, a real estate agent will help you accelerate the homebuying cycle.
Let's not forget about the assistance that a real estate agent can provide as you weigh the pros and cons of submitting an offer to purchase a home, either. If you find a home you may want to buy, a real estate agent can help you determine the best course of action. And if you decide to submit a homebuying proposal, a real estate agent will help you craft a competitive offer to purchase.
Want to acquire your dream home? Take advantage of the aforementioned tips, and you can use common sense throughout the homebuying journey and make your homeownership dream come true.
A homebuying negotiation may cause your stress levels to rise. However, as you work toward purchasing your dream house, there is no need to worry. In fact, there are many ways that you can limit stress as you finalize a home purchase, including:
1. Discuss Your Homebuying Concerns with Family Members and Friends
Family members and friends offer plenty of support. Thus, these loved ones are happy to listen to you and help you in any way possible, no matter what happens during a homebuying negotiation.
Don't be afraid to ask family members and friends for homebuying advice, either. These loved ones may be able to share their past homebuying negotiation experiences with you. And by doing so, your family members and friends could provide you with valuable insights that may help you move one step closer to acquiring your ideal residence.
2. Consider the Big Picture
Buying a home likely will be one of the biggest transactions that you'll complete in your lifetime. At the same time, it is important to note that there are plenty of fish in the sea. Therefore, you should try to remember that even if a home purchase agreement falls through, dozens of high-quality houses are still available in cities and towns nationwide.
Sometimes, it helps to take a step back during a homebuying negotiation. If you can inhale and try to relax, you may be better equipped than ever before to stay calm, cool and collected during a negotiation. With a fresh perspective, you could boost the likelihood of coming to terms with a seller and finalizing a home purchase agreement.
3. Consult with a Real Estate Agent
When it comes to purchasing a house, there is no need to embark on the homebuying journey alone. Fortunately, if you hire a real estate agent, you can receive expert support as you navigate the homebuying journey.
A real estate agent understands the stress associated with purchasing a house and will do everything possible to help you alleviate your homebuying worries. He or she can explain the homebuying process and respond to any concerns or questions. Plus, a real estate agent can negotiate with a seller's agent on your behalf to help you get the best price on your dream residence.
Furthermore, a real estate agent provides support after a seller accepts your offer to purchase a residence. A real estate agent will help you set up a home inspection, conduct this inspection with you and ensure you can complete a full review of the inspection results. In addition, a real estate agent can help you prepare for a home closing and ensure you can finalize a home purchase as quickly as possible.
There is no need to let stress get the best of you during a homebuying negotiation. By using the aforementioned tips, you can keep your stress levels in check as you negotiate a home purchase and accelerate the process of purchasing your dream home.
The more you know about the process of buying a house, the better prepared you'll be for doing it successfully.
How might you define "success" when it comes to purchasing a home?
There are a lot of standards that could be applied to successfully navigating the home buying process, but here are a few that immediately come to mind:
- Finding the house of your dreams: While very few people find a home that is absolutely perfect in every way, it is possible to come close to achieving that ideal. Although a certain amount of flexibility goes a long way, knowing what you want and prioritizing important features are among the main prerequisites to getting what you want. As baseball legend Yogi Berra once said, "If you don't know where you are going, you'll end up someplace else." Thanks to the variety of websites devoted to home ownership, home decorating, remodeling, and landscaping, it's easy to find pictures online that can help inspire your imagination and clarify exactly what the house of your dreams might look like.
- Minimizing setbacks and frustrations: The process of house hunting is a journey that often involves bumpy roads, detours, and dead ends. One secret to getting through it successfully is to work with an experienced real estate agent who knows the ropes and can keep you on track. It also helps to approach house hunting with a sense of optimism, resourcefulness, and commitment. Although you probably have a lot of competing priorities in your life, finding a house that you and your family will be happy in for the next few years deserves a top spot on your list!
- Avoiding unpleasant surprises: Knowing your credit score and understanding the impact it will have on getting loan approval and a favorable interest rate will help prepare you for the financial side of buying a house. The ability to get prequalified for a mortgage and come up with sufficient down payment will also set the stage for a successful home buying experience. On the plus side, a higher down payment can potentially result in a lower interest rate and not having to pay private mortgage insurance (A 20% down payment is necessary to avoid PMI.) Since many loan programs and lenders require at least a 3-5% down payment, that can be a stumbling block for first-time home buyers. To purchase a $200,000 home, for example, you'd need to come up with a cash outlay of between $6,000 to $10,000 -- not an easy feat for everyone!