Housing prices continue to climb, inventories continue to remain low, demand for housing is intense, and there’s absolutely no relief in sight. It’s a hard time to be a homebuyer right now! Despite that, you can still find a house that you’ll love; it may just take a little extra polish and shine as you head into your home buying adventure. Cash is still king, but you can be more competitive by putting your best foot forward with your offers.
Here are our best tips for buyers trying to secure a home in this busy and tight market.
Bring a Pre-Approval Letter From Your Lender
It’s one thing to think you’ll be approved for a loan, and yet another to know it. In today’s competitive market, your seller doesn’t want to wonder; they want to be certain that the contract they sign is one that will be able to close. This is doubly a concern for sellers who are faced with multiple offers in a short period, since sometimes they all look pretty good on the surface.
Going to your bank and making it as far as your loan approval process can go without a house gives a seller confidence that they won’t be back in the same place in a month, trying to sell a house that already had a contract fall through on it. For them, that might mean delaying their own purchase, or even having to sell their home at a discount, since buyers are sometimes nervous when previous contracts didn’t close.
Although many buyers can get into a home faster with an FHA loan, especially with the sometimes lower down payment requirements, sellers know that FHA and other loan programs carry additional requirements for the house itself, too. Although these are usually items most houses will already have if someone is living in them (for example, heat in every room), sellers have often heard horror stories and simply don’t want to deal with the unknown.
Rather than using an FHA program, work on your credit and choose a conventional loan. Conventional loans have far fewer requirements on the property itself, making them an easy transaction for your home seller. There’s nothing wrong with using an FHA loan if you have the time and patience to house hunt using one, but nothing says “easy peasy” to a seller like a conventional loan.
Bring Your Best Offer
Your best offer is the highest amount you’re willing to pay for the property in question, not an ideal price that you’d like to pay. In a different market, where buyers get their picks of the litter, you can feel out a seller to see where the bottom is, but in a market like what we’re still facing in most of the country, you’re far more likely to be competing with several offers at once, so the seller will probably either accept or reject yours rather than try to negotiate.
In addition to bringing your best offer, keep your list of requests short. You can (and should) absolutely ask for repairs to major items you noted when you viewed the home, but now is not the time to sweat the little things. The longer that list is now, before you’ve even had your inspection, the less likely it is that the seller will want to work with you.
Go Forth Boldly Into Your Offer
Putting in an offer on a home in this breakneck speed real estate market can be extremely intimidating, but you never have to face the unknown alone. When it comes time to move into your new home, you’ve got an entire network of friends and partners to help you patch up, paint up, clean up, and even move in!