So you have fallen in love. You are beaming with excitement. You are daydreaming and imagining a future together. You believe it to be a perfect match.
It turns out, however, that you are not the only one. Many other suitors are lined up, ready to sign on the dotted line and commit for the next 30 years. What to do? How can you possibly stand out and win... the house of your dreams?!
How to get the one you want
In a competitive market, you need to put your best foot forward, you need to flaunt your assets, and you need to wow! This is not the time to be vague, or secretive, or unprepared. In a nutshell, it truly is that simple, and in more detail:
you need to have all your ducks in a row, be prepared, ready, and willing. You need a good great (preferably) local lender who is on it. As a listing agent, I am always impressed when the lender calls me to tell me how well qualified the buyer is, and how smooth the process will be instead of me having to chase someone down to get these answers. When the market is hot, you will probably not have time to sleep on it, discuss it over dinner next week, or see what else is out there first. When you've fallen in love, be prepared to move fast!
Flaunt your assets
giving away too much info may compromise your negotiating position. However, when the market is hot, there's not much negotiating ground to stand on. You want to show off your strength. You want to brag with your stellar financial qualifications. You want to have the cleanest and strongest loan preapproval letter possible that tells the seller(s) and listing agent how awesome you are. A hot market is not the place to hide, nor to be shy!
Show your commitment
go ahead and dazzle. Wow the sellers with a larger than average earnest money deposit, show them that you really want the home, and are not afraid to have some skin in the game. You can also offer to make a second deposit after the inspections are done or at some other point in time down the road.
Be flexible (within reason)
a savvy buyer's agent will work to figure out what the sellers want before you submit an offer. Do they just want out asap, or will they need a few weeks rent back? Will closing need to coincide with the purchase of their new home, or the end of the school year, or both? Be flexible. You can also show flexibility with shorter than average contingency time frames, or your willingness to work with the sellers title company of choice.
Demand less (within reason)
when you are competing with other buyers, think about what the seller is looking for. Hint, a lot has to do with the bottom line (although other factors come into play, flexibility, closing date etc.). If you really need closing help, is there room to roll it into the sales price? How many inspection contingencies are you including? Consider offering to take the home as-is as of the date of inspection. I would never advise to waive inspections (unless you are a licensed contractor and/or experienced investor), but you may want to consider if you really need to make your offer contingent on every inspection there is.
Last, but not least, not only should you work with an Accredited Buyer's Agent, but also one you click with! You will be spending quite a bit of time together, and talk a lot - it really is key that you get along well, and communicate well! Make sure your agent gets you, has taken the time to figure out your needs, wants, and time frames, is knowledgeable, experienced, works well with others, and comes with a trusted 3rd party network.
*pictured above is one of my savvy & happy clients on happy closing day*
... and when it doesn't work out, it's not the right house! Once you've found the one, the one that will truly make you happy for years to come, you'll know. And you'll be so glad that things didn't work out with the other one house.