10 Tips for Navigating a Seller’s Market as a Buyer

  • Bill Ruane
  • 03/26/21

There’s no question that the real estate market is exceptionally competitive right now. According to a Zillow Group Consumer Housing Trends Report 2019, among buyers who made an official offer on a home, 45 percent made multiple offers. This can sound overwhelming, but don’t worry—we’ve put together some tips for navigating a seller’s market as a buyer. By following these steps (and having a great realtor to guide you!), you’ll be prepared to make the necessary moves to find your dream home.

1. Window Shop

If you’re seriously considering moving, now is the time to start window shopping! If you’re able, spend some looking over what’s available before you get serious. Look at your favorite real estate websites to see the new listings every day and tour open homes. According to the National Realtors Association, 97 percent of individuals used the internet to search for a home—an all-time high! The internet is a great tool for familiarizing yourself with what’s in the market, especially if you’re house shopping in a different town than the one you’re currently living in. 

2. Don’t Fall In Love at First Sight

If you’re seriously considering moving, now is the time to start window shopping! If you’re able, spend some looking over what’s available before you get serious. Look at your favorite real estate websites to see the new listings every day and tour open homes. According to the National Realtors Association, 97 percent of individuals used the internet to search for a home—an all-time high! The internet is a great tool for familiarizing yourself with what’s in the market, especially if you’re house shopping in a different town than the one you’re currently living in. 

3. Find a Good Real Estate Agent

Navigating the housing market can be challenging, especially if it’s your first time or you’re doing it on your own! That’s why it’s a good idea to get a solid real estate agent to help guide you through this process. Having a good real estate agent is especially important in a hot market. 

There are a variety of reasons why you shouldn't underestimate the importance of this step. First, a real estate agent has in-depth knowledge of the market. A professional real estate agent like Bill Ruane will use his knowledge and expertise of the local market to help you meet your objectives at a desirable cost. A qualified real estate agent will also have access to home listings and sales data, which allows them to recommend realistic prices to you as the buyer. An experienced agent will be familiar with market trends over long periods. Secondly, agents work with many other real estate professionals that you might need to call upon. This might include mortgage consultants, home inspectors, title companies, and more. If complications arise during the home buying process, your agent can easily recommend the best professional help for your specific situation. Here are some more top reasons to hire a real estate agent.

4. Let Go of Perfection

There’s no question that the housing market is hot right now, which can often make finding a home a long and tiring process. Although this can be challenging, being fixated on finding the “perfect home” can hinder your search. Instead, it is vital to decide where you are willing to compromise. After all, sometimes it’s better to have a good home and then make it perfect rather than wait for the “perfect home” to hit the market. 

5.Have Your Proof of Funds and Pre-Approval Ready

This step can often make or break you, especially if you’re a first-time homebuyer. Once you’re ready to throw your hat into the ring, be sure that you have all the necessary paperwork in order. This includes the mortgage pre-approval and proof of funds. For those who are first-time buyers, a mortgage pre-approval is a letter from a lender stating the loan amount for which you’ve been approved. This serves as proof of your financial ability to purchase the home. The pre-approval letter will typically contain your name, issue date, the loan amount you qualify for, the name of the lender, and the lender’s NMLS number.

Similarly, proof of funds are documents that show the seller that you have the liquid funds available to cover the cost associated with purchasing a home. This might be a statement of accounts from your bank statement, an open equity line of credit, or a copy of a money market account balance. Proof of funds documents typically require your name, issue date, name of the financial institution, and the amount that’s currently available. If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to ask your real estate agent! They will help you determine what documents will work best. 

6. Don't Wait!

Once you’ve decided you want to make an offer, it’s always a good idea to assume you’re not the only one. There’s a good chance many others have as well. For hot markets, you’ll most likely have one or two days to submit your offer after viewing a home. Speed is the name of the game when it comes to real estate! Don’t forget to check with the seller’s agent to see what the offer deadline is. This will help ensure you submit yours promptly. As we’ve said before, try not to get your hopes up, no matter how hard that might be. 

7. Make an Offer

Putting an offer on a home can be an intimidating and stressful process, especially if you’re a first-time buyer. But with the right real estate agent, this process can go smoothly. Once you’ve found a home you want to make an offer on, follow these steps. Namely, your offer should be in the form of a purchase and sale agreement. Your agent will draft this for you, and you’ll sign before it’s submitted. This document becomes legally binding if the seller accepts your offer. 

8. Write an Offer Letter

To the seller, all offers look the same. This is where writing an offer letter might just come in handy. An offer letter essentially explains to the seller why you want to buy their house. This will help the seller put a face to your name, and this might just be what sets your offer apart from others. 

If you’ve decided to include an offer letter, there are a few crucial factors to keep in mind. You want to ensure that the note isn’t too overly personal. Instead, this letter should primarily demonstrate that you have the financial qualifications to buy the home and are serious about your offer. Instead of overwhelming the buyer with your life story, make sure that you add only a few personal touches. Keep in mind that if you aren’t strategic about what you include in the letter, the buyer might be less willing to consider you.

There are a variety of things to make sure you don’t add in the letter, including changes you want to make to the home, unnecessary personal information or opinions, and anything negative. Finally, it’s important to note that not all sellers welcome such letters, which can introduce the Fair Housing Act violations. Before writing a letter, be sure to consult with your real estate agent.

9. Get a Pre-Inspection

When it comes time to buy a home, it’s a smart idea to hire a home inspector before closing. A home inspection is often required for a mortgage. This step might take some time, but it will save you big money in the end. A home inspector will check for major flaws that need to be addressed. This might include the property’s foundation, structure, electrical, plumbing, and HVAC systems. Although a house might look like it’s in stellar condition, sometimes appearances can be deceiving. That’s where having a pre-inspection comes in handy!

10. Be Patient

While you’re eager to take the leap and make the move, buying a home often requires time and patience. This step can be grueling, but it’s an integral part of navigating the market. According to the National Association of Realtors, buyers typically search for eight weeks and look at a median of 9 homes before buying one. All that to say—patience is key. Patience ensures that you don’t rush into a house that isn’t the right fit for you and don’t get your hopes up.

If you’re ready to make the leap into buying a home, contact Bill Ruane today. Bill is one of the top realtors in the South Bay and serves a wide range of neighborhoods. He is an expert in everything from El Segundo homes for sale to Marina Del Rey homes for sale. His expertise and dedication will guide you through the home buying process.

 

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