Regarding the article I've linked below: So true!! Many home buyers in the Lake Wallenpaupack region tend to look "outside their range" thinking that "in this market" they can beat the sellers up enough to come down to where they can afford it.
While you may run across a seller who is both desperate to sell and financially able to take a huge loss, most are either unwilling or unable to afford it. Either they owe too much on the house to let it go for less, or they know the true market value of their home and will not "give it away" & can afford to wait for someone to come along and offer a comps-supported price reflecting the home's actual market value.
A buyer's agent is able to show you comparable properties that will give a good estimate of the home's true market value, and will be able to advise you if the home is grossly overpriced or "priced to sell."
At any rate, looking outside your mortgage qualification range is setting yourself up for disappointment.
I'm working with a lovely young couple. They did what most buyers do before they sign up with a real estate agent. They did their research on the Internet and then they went to Open Houses. They even got a pre-approval letter before coming to me. They did everything right, except one thing. They went to an Open House outside their price range. And, they fell in love with the home. They asked me to go see it with them today.
The husband said, this is exactly what we are looking for, except in a different price range. Uh oh! The wife is very specific about the location she wants. It's an excellent location with good resale value. It has the school system they want. This ideal home is in that area. So if we can't go to a less expensive area, how can I help them find a home just like this one for less? I explained the dilemma to them.
To complicate things, it is a home of amazing quality, craftmanship, and unique charm. A high end builder built this custom home using the touches he uses on homes twice as expensive.
I feel bad for them, because they have really fallen in love and now they will feel like they are settling when they purchase their first home, instead of feeling excited about it. They don't want a starter home and don't plan to move again, so this makes it particularly frustrating.
The lesson learned from this is to figure out your price range early. Not just what you qualify for in terms of a mortgage (they could qualify for a loan for this home), but what you should spend on housing given your lifestyle and plans.