Success in a competitive market is part luck, part strategy & part timing.
With this in mind, here are some tried and true strategies for… How to buy a home in a competitive market
It takes a team to buy a home. You, the home buyer, are the team captain. Your real estate broker, lender, and escrow are on Team (your name) I am always surprised to meet new clients who tell me their previous broker didn’t call them back. What? A real estate broker’s business is service and if you are chasing them down, don’t bother. Your broker should always respond in a timely fashion. How are you going to be competitive if you can’t get into a house?
Do not rely on real estate advertising sites for current information. These sites are not required to keep their information accurate and up to date.
The MLS is a repository for all homes for sale listed by real estate brokerages. This is the “mother ship” and all other real estate sites get their information from the MLS.
- Be pre-approved for a home loan & work with a local lender
Why a local lender? Because they understand the local market and work with local real estate agents. Short story (from another broker): We had a buyer who wanted to use her cousin as her lender. Her cousin was a lender in another state almost 300 miles away. The out-of-state lender had never written a home loan for a house on well & septic. It was a VA loan and the lender did not contact the proper people in Virginia so-the loan was not approved by the underwriters. Fortunately, we had a relationship
with a local lender who literally saved the day! He took over the loan process and had our buyers in their new home within 20 days! This is nothing short of a miracle considering most loans take at least 30 days.
Moral of the story: Use a local lender when buying a home.
- Write down your “can’t live without” list.
This is one of the most important lists you will write in your life. I’m not kidding. Your “can’t live without” list includes the dreams you’ve had about home ownership. My list included a fireplace because I pictured my children’s stockings hanging there at Christmas and warm nights with my family reading books by the fire. This is a serious list! And most important, it’s personal. There’s no right or wrong with what is on this list but you have to write it or you may miss an important part of your dream.
- Drive and walk the neighborhoods where you may want to live.
The people you see may soon be part of your life and your children’s lives too. How does the community feel? Do people take care of their yards and houses? This is a chance to feel the vibe of a place. Does it feel right to you?
- Gather information about the local schools.
GreatSchools.org is an excellent place to start but do more than that if you are weighing what neighborhood and school will fit your needs. Call the school and ask if you could set up a tour. Go to a local community or civic organization meeting. This is where you will hear what’s happening in a community.
- Finally and most important, make sure your credit and finances are in good shape.
A good local lender will check your credit and discuss what loan options are best for you. Once again, this lender, your real estate agent and the settlement attorney all work on your behalf. They are Team (you)! Providing quality service should be their highest priority.
Remember, YOU, the buyer, are financing this transaction. YOU deserve 100% protection and loyalty throughout the entire process. And by the way, it should be fun. Of course, it’s a little scary but most things worthwhile are at first.