4 Tips to Buy in a Tight Market
1. Determine and stick to a budget. Before beginning the house hunting process, prospective homebuyers should receive preapproval from one or more lenders to verify the amount of money they are qualified to borrow. Then, after taking into account additional costs of ownership such as taxes, utilities and insurance, buyers should determine a final budget they can comfortably afford. When listings are scarce, bidding wars can drive up prices, so buyers must be prepared to walk away if the asking price surpasses their budget.
2. Identify desired neighborhoods and home wants versus needs. When housing inventory is tight, buyers may need to compromise on what they believe they want from a home. Certain wants, such as stainless appliances or hardwood floors, can be added later. However, if a buyer wants to be in a specific school district or have a decent sized backyard, those cannot be addressed later and must be taken into account during the house hunting process.
3. Be ready to make a decision quickly. In a seller’s market, homes rarely stay on the market long, so when a house that is in their budget and checks off all of their needs come along, buyers should not hesitate. Buyers should be ready to submit an offer quickly, or they may risk missing out on the home altogether.
4. Bid competitively and limit contingencies. It is tempting to submit a low offer as a starting bid, but in a seller’s market buyers need to put forward their highest offer from the very beginning or they are likely to lose out on the home. It is also important to remember that in multiple bidding situations it is not always the highest offer that is most attractive to the seller but the one with the fewest contingencies. Removing restrictions related to the sale of a current home and being flexible with things like the move-in date can make a bid stand out to a seller.
Tips to get your house ready to sell
Lighten up.Some people like to live in dark houses. Leave the shades up and the drapes opened. Homes show so much better with light.
Size up the competition. Walk through model homes in your area to see what professionally staged homes look like. You can get a variety of great ideas to prepare your home for sale.
Define the space. Creatively define each space to highlight its use. Create a mudroom that is neat and orderly, a home office workspace, or a kids afterschool room with chalk boards and desks.
Add simple curb appeal. Thoroughly clear all little branches, rake the leaves, and trim the bushes. Every landscaping detail proves that you care, and this translates to buyer appeal!
Give it a power wash. I bought a power washer three years ago, and what a great investment. I always offer it to my clients. You’d be surprised how much better a house looks after a good bath—especially the garage doors.