It's Not Always All About the Money
You've been watching the online listings of homes for sale. You want just the right school district, and a reasonable distance for your commute. You've driven by a few homes, attended open houses, and toured several after work and on weekends too. Finally you find that perfect house to call a ‘home.’ The price is right, but you know in a competitive market you'll need to make a great offer to guarantee that your dream of making this house yours comes true!
Here are 4 steps to consider when making an offer in today's market:
1. Don't Get Pre-approved. Get Loan Approved
As agents, it seems like we're always trying to impress on home buyers the importance of getting pre-approved before looking at houses. But some buyers just don't want to make the effort until they "find the one". Now those buyers are two steps behind. Just getting pre-approved is no longer enough. Today's savviest agents get their buyers loan approved in advance.
Why is that such a big deal? The number of cash buyers in the market has risen dramatically. Sellers would much rather take an offer that doesn't require a 3 week or more loan approval "contingency". When you walk in to negotiations fully loan approved, you compete with cash buyers and start out way ahead of other "pre-approved" buyers.
2. Determine Your Price
There are lot's of online sources for computer generated values. You see them on most real estate websites with page titles like "What's my home worth". Take a look at 5 or 6 and you'll likely get 5 or 6 different numbers. Some use tax rolls, some use asking prices, some use public data. Texas is a non-disclosure state. So the information available to sites like Zillow (who owns Trulia - so expect those numbers to be similar) is often limited to area asking prices and public info.
Your best source of information is a market analysis from a good agent. It should take into account a home's updates and upgrades compared to the area in addition to the basics like square footage. An experienced agent can also often guess how much competition you're going to be up against based on the area, school district, price point and more. That experience could go a long way towards helping you pick a price that gets the house without paying more than you have to.
3. Make Your Offer. Make it Count
Your agent should be aware of several ways you can make your offer stand out in this competitive market that don't necessarily mean you need to pay the highest price. Some sellers are looking for a quick close. (You did get fully loan approved in advance, didn't you?) What if you're not ready to move? A good agent can walk you thru a temporary lease back to the seller which covers your costs of an early close while giving the seller the peace of mind he as a "done deal".
The timing of your offer is also important. Is the seller holding out to see what offers may come in over a long weekend? Will there be a call for "highest and best" or will the seller just choose an offer and start to work it? A good agent can make sure you're front and center at just the right time. Too early and your offer may get "shopped" around as the one to beat. Too late and, well....
4. Don't Dawdle
The inventory of available homes for sale in Keller, Grapevine, Colleyville, Southlake and surrounding areas has remained well below the 6-month supply of a ‘normal’ market. As long a buyer demand outpaces the supply of homes for sale, buyers will have to compete with each other for the best homes.
Make sure that as soon as you decide you want to make an offer, you work with your agent to update your approval letter and determine your offer strategy. You'll want time to review the comparables, do a little detective work about what's important to the seller. and get familiar with the contract.
Whether buying your first home or your fifth, having a local real estate professional who is an expert in his or her market on your side is your best bet in making sure the process goes smoothly. Let’s talk about how we can make your dreams of homeownership a reality!
Have questions about real estate you want answered? Even if you aren't planning to buy or sell for years, I hope you'll feel comfortable calling me to talk about your unique real estate situation. I'd love the opportunity to become your agent long before you actually need one. -Cindy Allen
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