In today’s real estate market being a homebuyer can be a challenge with so few homes on the market. Trying to purchase a house in this type of market can make the already complex process of buying a home even more overwhelming than it already can be for some. Here are a few helpful suggestions for how to prevail in a competitive market.
Stick to your budget
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. That being said, it is best as a buyer to get pre-qualified by a reputable mortgage agent and keep to your comfortable budget while you avoid letting any emotions make you overspend.
Do a wants vs. needs assessment
There is no perfect home that has everything. Something always has to give where you make a sacrifice, even if it’s just changing decor to match your specific taste. However, in a competitive landscape you may need to decide what is a need and what is a want so you can find a home that can be most accommodating.
Prepare to make quick decisions
Most homes are not on the market for long in a seller’s market like today. Don’t take your time when the right property comes on the market. Move quickly if you are interested enough to submit an offer.
Make your offer competitive
Offers that are very low don’t typically win in a seller’s market. Beginning with your best foot forward is better as there can sometimes be other offers. It is also a wise idea to limit your contingencies as that is part of your offer’s value. Being flexible with things like the move-in date can make a bid stand out to a seller.
Work with a Realtor
Work with an experienced real estate agent like myself as I can provide expert advice and help you navigate a competitive offer situation. Local experienced agents can give buyers the competitive advantage needed in a tight market.
Marketing your home online is very important as most buyers begin their research looking at listings on the internet. You will want to be sure your home is looking its best as this is the first impression that your home will make on buyers. Here are some tips to follow when selling your home.
Increase the Value
As most want to get the highest price for their home, a good approach is to make some home improvements. Select renovations and remedying any deferred maintenance are both wise ideas. Fresh paint or doing some landscaping can also go a long way.
Statistics have shown that the more photos a listing has, the more views that it will get. Buyers want to have a better grasp of a home to decide if they want to proceed with scheduling a showing. Professional photography is the best option unless you are skilled with the right camera. Before taking photos, be sure the home is clean and properly staged. Implement the right lighting and have curtains open so that no dark areas are left.
A good description that highlights the things that made you buy the home will entice others. Provide your agent with as much detail and how you enjoy the home so they can develop a compelling description. Listing recent updates is also a good thing.
The right price can be just as important as staging and location. Your agent should provide you with active comparables on the market as well as similar sold properties so that you can decide on the right price. The majority of the buyer traffic happens in the first couple weeks of being listed for sale, so it is important to capture this audience with the right price.
Allow your agent to be a valuable resource when selling your home. Your agent can provide you advice, comps as well as alert you to when is a good time to list. Ultimately, your own goals will play a significant role in timing, price and how the sale process flows.
As technology progresses everyone is interested in being more efficient and environmentally friendly when it comes to their homes. With many options available, it can be overwhelming to know how to start and how to go about implementing some of today’s options. Here are some great ways to begin which can also help save you money.
Small changes for big results – An easy way of cutting down on the pollution in your home is to just take off your shoes. This is because 30 – 40% of indoor contaminants are tracked in by your shoes. Purchase a fun or decorative door mat and take off your shoes by the door. Other easy ideas include turning off lights when you leave a room, set your water heater to a max of 120 degrees and install a programmable thermostat to regulate the temperature.
Don’t forget your landscaping – Very often people focus on the interior of their homes when choosing to make green changes. However, your landscaping outdoors can have a positive effect as well on the environment. Your landscaping can be both environmentally friendly and sustainable. Replacing a traditional lawn with some native grasses can require 50% to 70% less water, according to the U.S. Green Building Council. This can save you nearly 60 hours a year in maintenance.
Beware of becoming “greenwashed” – Not every product on the market is environmentally friendly. Some claim to have a concern for being eco friendly but still have harmful chemicals in their ingredients list. Always be sure to check the labels and if in doubt, do some quick research online to verify.
Green upgrades pay off – A great place to start saving is with your local utility company to check for any savings or incentives. Also, be sure to check for any tax incentives should you be interested in upgrading any of your systems to energy efficient ones including adding solar panels. Smaller changes like planting trees for shading your home can reduce cooling costs or replacing bulbs with EnergyStar ones can save a lot over time.
Purchase a LEED certified home – If you are shopping for a new home and don’t want to add green features on your own, consider purchasing a LEED certified home. These homes do come at a premium, but you realize the savings over time with considerable savings and efficiency all while being environmentally friendly.
When you close on your new home and have signed on the dotted line committing to a 30 year or similar loan term it can feel a bit daunting. While you are committed to paying it off, you aren’t forced to stay with that mortgage for that long. Other than of course selling your home for a move, there are other ways you can work with your mortgage to shorten the length of its term. If you are in a position where you have a healthy surplus of cash flow and a shorter term works better for your long term goals, then here are a bunch of considerations.
Instead of paying your mortgage once a month on the first, try paying half of it every 2 weeks. By doing this you will end up making 1 extra payment at the end of the year which can typically shave roughly 5 years off the life of your loan. Just check with your bank to make sure they accept this type of payment strategy.
One extra annual payment
Similar to the outcome as the previous idea, instead of the biweekly payments try making just 1 extra payment per year. Depending on how you receive your income or maybe if you typically get a good tax return this may be easier to handle.
Add to principal
Perhaps one of the more common practices is to pay more each month towards your principal. Many banks will even have this option on their payment coupons for those who wish to take advantage of this. Be sure your bank offers this as well without penalty before you begin.
Lump sum principal payment
This option is another one that is great if your income supports it well. Some receive work bonuses at the end of the year for example where taking a portion and putting it towards your mortgage can help you save in the long run.
This option would be really trading one mortgage for another, however, if you can get a much lower interest rate then you will absolutely save a lot of money in the long run.
Shorter term mortgage
This goes hand-in-hand with refinancing where you want to match up what you can comfortably afford with your future goals. Retirement is often a milestone where homeowners want to either move to downsize or remain in their home mortgage free.
If you are moving into a new home in the near future, you probably have many things to do from packing to scheduling movers. However, one of the best pieces of advice is to set some time aside and create a floor plan of your new home. Regardless of whether you are bringing furniture that you already own or if you are purchasing additional pieces, laying out the rooms will give you peace of mind while making sure everything fits comfortably.
Take Measurements – A good place to start is to take measurements of everything possible. Some listings, especially if they are newer construction, can have floor plans available which you can utilize which will save you time. Most floor plans should be fairly accurate, but the scale is not always 100% precise. Be sure to measure the size of the rooms as well as the width of doorways.
Consider Function – When you are planning out each room, be sure you keep function in mind. Try to envision the room with several people in it. Then, figure where your furniture should be placed so that it can be functional without interrupting the flow of the room. Sometimes it can be helpful to collaborate with others on this to get different perspectives and ideas.
Use Online Tools – If there is not already a floor plan in existence and you need to create one, try using a free online service like Floorplanner.com. A system like this offers an easy solution for drawing a floor plan and even has objects that you can place in rooms to represent your furniture.
Welcome Changes – It is important to understand that as much as you can plan your home online, it is not going to be the same as when you actually move in. Be ready to make some changes once your belongings are all moved in. You may even want to live in it for a bit to see how the setup can work best.
Creating a floor plan should assist in relieving stress, see what you have and what is needed. This can also help to instruct your movers on where to place your furniture on moving day.
Being a homebuyer in today’s market can be challenging with the current competitive landscape. However, being armed as best as possible will give you a good fighting chance to be the winning bid on the home you wish to buy. Here are some helpful tips.
Trust Your Real Estate Agent
Your local real estate such as myself is going to be a wealth of information. From knowing the market to crafting the most appropriate offer the expertise is invaluable. Sometimes a little creativity can help with negotiations and extensive experience can be just what you need.
The vast majority of homes for sale are selling in less than 1 month. With the steep competition today you will need to be ready to not only view all homes that come on the market but be prepared to submit an offer immediately should it be the right fit.
Know Your Budget
Before you even begin seriously looking at real estate, you must get pre-approved for a home loan by a mortgage professional. Only they can truly tell you what you will be approved for in the way of a home loan. This will dictate the price point of what you can afford and start looking for. Also, while some homes go into bidding wars, this will also help keep things in check for you as you know your price ceiling.
Put Your Best Foot First
According to a recent report from the National Association of Realtors, roughly 40% of today’s offers are submitted for above the asking price. Knowing this information is always helpful but local trends combined with comps and your agent’s knowledge will help guide you best when making your best offer.
With the help of your agent you can decide on what makes most sense to be flexible on. It is not recommended that you give up too much like a home inspection contingency just to make your offer most attractive. There are other things like amount of money down, closing dates and the like that may be just as important or helpful to the seller if you can accommodate.