Even in the throws of what some would swear will surely go down as one of the wildest markets in the history of real estate, there are ways for you to get super savvy in maximizing YOUR leverage as a buyer.
Too often buyers will make the “yep, we’re moving” decision and hop straight onto Zillow to start their search.
Um, you might want to hold those horses.
Don’t Go It Alone!
While being incredibly proactive is great, entering the market this way could hurt you in a number of ways. Many buyers don’t realize they can get the help of a real estate agent at no cost to them. This is someone who will be committed to helping you, allowing you to leverage their expertise while having them by your side to steer you away from many of the pit falls that can come with buying a home.
We are here to protect you. Why put yourself or your family at risk to avoid a service that will cost you nothing?
Talk to Your Mortgage Professional
Any time you are looking to make a large purchase involving a loan, its best to start with having a solid conversation with the bank or lender you intend to acquire the loan from.
You base your search going off of those “you’re pre-qualified” solicitations you’re pulling out of your mailbox.
Your lender will talk to you about your financial situation and credit history to determine your loan options. It’s important to know exactly how much house you can afford based on your down payment and income. Not only can a strong letter of pre-approval add to your buying power but most sellers and their listing agents will expect to see it as your offer is presented for consideration.
NOTE: If you must sell your current home to afford a new one, consider putting it on the market before starting your search. You can often negotiate a better deal on a purchase if your property is under contract or you already have cash in hand. Be sure to mention this to your agent. The same agent will be happy to help you in both transactions.
Have a Meeting with Your Real Estate Agent
This is the time to sit down with your agent so you can communicate a clear picture of what you want. You will clarify your needs and preferences and communication preferences. This will also give you a chance to discuss the current market and strategize on what steps will get you into the best position as you officially enter the market as a buyer.
Are you looking for a turn-key home or something with “good bones” in which you can more quickly build equity? This is a big consideration you need to be clear on as you prepare to buy a home. Some buyers are incredibly busy and don’t want to be burdened with numerous projects as they come into the home. If that’s you, understand you can expect to pay more for a home that is move-in ready.
Other buyers, looking to find a more affordable home with great potential may be more incline toward a home they can restore over the months and years ahead. If you’re considering a fixer-upper, be sure you are judging it more so on structural deficiencies than cosmetic flaws.
Redecorating with new flooring, paint and fixtures can quickly add value to the home, often with relatively low costs.
Replacing major components can be incredibly costly as can massive changes to the layout. (Some costing more than the home will ever be worth when considering the sales price plus the cost of those repairs).
Understanding what you can afford and what you are prepared to take on will have a huge impact in how happy you ultimately are with your homebuying decision.
Location is Key
Firstly, while you may shrug your shoulders at a 45-60 minute trek to work today because the house is just so pretty or gives you all the feels, understand that long transit times as a norm has a way of wearing on a lot of people. That may not be you, and if not, totally cool but be sure to give it solid consideration as you determine what areas you’re willing to buy in.
Secondly, when buying a home, even if today you plan to retire there, be mindful of the re-sale-ability of a home in that location. While it can be tempting to settle on the “steal of a deal” house in a less desirable area or neighborhood, you want to consider the situation this could put you in should you go to sell the home later down the road.
I say this from experience – it is incredibly challenging to need to move within months while bound to a home that may take years to sell. It is even more frustrating to have to sell the home at a loss where able/willing buyers are scarce in your market area.
As you consider the location, look to the vitality of the area. Are there many homes that just don’t seem to be selling or take a really long time to sell? Are there signs of neglect or “ghost town” vibes to the area or are there signs of prosperity and growth? While you can expect to pay more for the latter, it can be easier to leverage that growth in your favor when the time comes for you to move onto a next chapter and next home.
Go for it!
Let’s get that offer in!
To write a winning offer without overpaying, look at the prices of comparable sales. (Don’t freak out on me. As your agent, I’ll do this for you.) Consider whether the property is in a high-demand area or if there is plenty of competition. We can look at things like seller motivation and potential accommodations you may be willing to make to win-over the seller. We’ll also discuss the terms you’re willing to agree to, inspections you want/need to have completed and other factors that can add to the appeal of your offer.
Buying a home is a HUGE undertaking but can be one of the most rewarding endeavors of your life. My husband has often said, his home is his castle and his sanctuary from the world. As your agent, I want to help you find the home you get to fall in love with. It may take some time and it may take some work but with the right plan of action, I’m confident we’ll get you there.
Feel free to give me a call when you’re ready to talk on how we can get you in position. Until then, take care and God bless!