It’s that time again, when the Spring real estate market starts to get hot (or gets even hotter, depending on how steamy your particular corner of the world is). Multiple-offer situations and selling prices that soar over asking prices are great for sellers, not so much for buyers.
If you’re looking for an edge to ensure you get the home you want, we have some tips.
Work with the right real estate agent
You can’t underestimate the experience and skills of a quality real estate agent. Not only will a great agent be able to guide you toward the best properties for you, but also may be able to use their network to identify homes that aren’t even on the market yet or to work closely with an agent to get your offer accepted.
Make sure your offer is first
Some sellers will hold off on accepting an offer to see if they get more offers. There might not be anything you can do to entice them unless you’re planning to make an offer that’s over their asking price. But being the early bird can have its benefits. That may mean being ready to run to a listing at a moment’s notice, or giving the thumbs up via Facetime if one of you can’t leave work the minute the perfect home hits the MLS.
Go without an inspection
This is risky, and your real estate agent may advise you against this. We would only offer it as an option in cases where you’re being shut out of home after home and are looking to do extensive renovations anyway.
Up your budget
If you’ve made several offers on homes and have thus far been unsuccessful, you’ve probably already had a discussion with your real estate agent about increasing your budget. Here’s another really good reason to go ahead and put more money toward your home purchase: It could allow you to move into another price bracket. If you’re a first-time buyer who is looking in a lower price range, you’re in the most competitive market there is. Adding even a few thousand dollars could make the difference, and the change to your monthly mortgage payment will be negligible.
Consider the associated expenses
If you’re worried about upping your budget, think about how you can save on associated expenses, and put that money into your mortgage, instead. Look for homes without a homeowner’s association. That could save you up to several hundred dollars per month. Look at areas where you don’t have to pay a toll for your daily commute. That adds up. If you’re looking at attached properties, front-yard maintenance may be included, and there may also be an on-site gym. There are two monthly expenses you can get rid of.
Watch the contingencies
“Sellers have the upper hand in a multiple-bid situation, and they want offers that are clean and concise,” said NerdWallet. Bruce Ailion, Atlanta-based Re/Max Town & Country Agent, told them, “Don’t include things like needing to wait for a spouse or partner’s approval, asking the seller to purchase a home warranty or requesting that the seller leaves or repairs certain items. You also don’t want to ask the seller to pay your closing costs; find an affordable attorney or title company to represent you. Having too many of these items in your contract will make it likely that a seller tells you ‘no’ over another offer.”
In a multiple-offer situation, the seller is looking for the easiest path to closing. Provide that, and you just might be the home’s new owner. The trick is finding out what they really want—beyond the right price, of course. It could be that a shorter closing would do the trick. Or maybe you can offer them the opportunity to rent back until school gets out so their child can finish up the year.
Write a letter
Yes, writing a sappy letter to the seller telling them all about you and why you love their home so much is shameless pandering, but sometimes shameless pandering works. Don’t forget to include pictures, and the cuter your kids look, the better.