In a scorching hot market, with multiple offers on each property in days, landing the property of your dreams means having your ducks in a row so you can pull the trigger immediately and makes your offer so much more appealing to the home owner. Not being ready means losing your perfect home.
Fortunately, the process is pretty straight-forward and completely doable. When we sit down with clients at the beginning of the process, this is what we're telling clients they need to do right now to be “offer ready.”
1. First, when you want to be moved in and settled in your new home? Identify that date on a calendar. Now count back 8 weeks. This date is when you need to have an accepted offer on the books. So if you want to be settled in your new home on July 1st, you’ll need an accepted offer May 15th. (Note, closing can sometimes take as little as 30 days, but 60 days leaves you a little wiggle room if there are delays. Nobody wants to have to move into an extended stay hotel and put all their household in storage, only to have to move it again in a few weeks!)
2. Set aside time to find your new home. I recommend a period of 6-12 weeks. The more unique features and location that you’re looking for, I generally recommend setting aside more time to search. So if you’re more flexible about your requirements, starting your search March 15th would be fine. If you’re more particular about what you’re looking for, start looking February 1st. When you find the property, be ready to move.
3. Look at your personal finances and decide how large of a payment you can really afford. Be realistic; leave room for savings, emergency funds, car repairs, and unexpected home repairs.
Conversely, remember the monthly housing payment will always be the same where as your earning potential will grow over time. So being a little stretched now to get your home may be a wise decision.
4. Don't just get pre-approved by a lender, go as far as you can down the road of approval. Choose your lender, complete an application, and have the lender go as far as possible down the approval process. Why? No one, including you wants to walk into a house and later discover you are not approved for it.
In this competitive market, sellers are out for blood. by that I mean cash. If you don't have cash, they want as close as they can get. Sellers like a firm approval letter with a reputable lender, a conventional loan and as large a downpayment as possible. Any variance from that will leave you weak.
5. Meet with your real estate agent before you start your search. Home sellers are represented by agents who negotiate for the seller’s advantage; you need to be equally represented by someone who represents your best interests. When we meet with a new clienet, we’ll discuss the home buying process, what you most want in a home, our search strategies, getting an accepted offer, and what to expect every step of the way. Bring your questions to this meeting! Your agent is your consultant and should not be just an enthusiastic guide. Your agent will guide you through the buying process from helping you to identify suitable properties, select one, discuss negotiating strategies, and help you through the complex process of home buying.
6. Once you find your home, be ready to act quickly and decisively. Remember, if you take time "think about it", most likely, another buyer to two, who say it before will come back and write while you are waiting. Use the experience of your agent to guide you to a strong offer strategy.
When you get an accepted offer your work is only just beginning. Get rolling on completing your mortgage application. Now you’ll need to supply more documentation and go through several more steps to obtain a commitment from the lender that says they are indeed lending you the money. There’s usually a deadline in the offer by which you must have loan commitment. Don't rish losing the home by delaying the application process.
All of these points speak to acting swiftly in a very fluid and rapid-moving market where you’re in fierce competition with many other buyers for relatively few properties. These are the cards I tell my buyers to have in hand so they don’t lose the home they love.
Don’t have a lender yet? Click on “Contact us” for a referral to trusted lenders who’ve taken great care of our clients.
Find your new home using our free home search. We’ll email you daily with new listings and when properties have an accepted offer. Our site is updated in real time so you’ll know the current status of every home you view. (Don't rely on the national tech sites as they don't pay for updated info)
Contact us for personal homebuyers orientation.