The median price for home buyers in the greater Tacoma – Seattle region is at an all-time high for a very simple reason: supply and demand. It’s a seller’s market. With Seattle and Tacoma among the nation’s fastest growing cities, thanks to a plentiful job market, it’s growing faster than housing starts and resales can accommodate.
Challenges Home Buyers Face in a Seller’s Market
While this is great for most sellers, it can present a problem for home buyers. No sooner do you find a home you want to purchase, or decide on a new home construction lot and floor plan than someone has beaten you to the punch and landed your first choice before you had a chance to pull the trigger. The good news is that there are ways you can put yourself in a good position to get under contract for the home you want, need, or always dreamed about, so that the home you want most doesn’t slip away, even in a seller’s market.
Home Buyers in Seller’s Market Should Do These 7 Things
1. Get pre-approved for a home loan mortgage.
Getting pre-approved before your start your home search puts you in a strong position to make an offer on the home you want, since sellers aren’t left to wonder whether you will be able to get the financing needed to buy the property. The pre-approval process can often be completed very quickly with an online application and a few pieces of confirming documentation.
Furthermore, getting home loan pre-approval from a reputable mortgage company can give you an advantage if sellers are considering multiple offers, or when working with new home builders, since they have experience to draw on that can make the process go more smoothly. Plus, with pre-approval complete, you’ll know your budget capabilities more precisely, so you can focus on the homes that best-fit your household needs and financial circumstances.
2. Go in with earnest money.
Earnest money is a deposit that the home buyer makes as part of the purchase and sale agreement. A larger earnest money deposit can tilt the scales in your favor as well, as sellers realize that you are serious and truly want the property. When making an offer, ask your realtor or mortgage professional for advice.
3. Be prepared to be flexible.
In a hot seller’s market, home buyers see available homes practically “flying off the shelves” very quickly, with some listings staying active for only a few days before offers come in and are signed around. If you can provide the seller with some flexibility and accommodate the time they need to pack up and move out, this could help you make the case for why a seller should accept your offer instead of someone else’s.
4. Don’t ask for too much.
In a hot seller’s market, home buyers often need to come in at full asking price, and sometimes even come in above asking price, in order to get under contract on the home they want to buy. While in slow markets you might have the ability to ask for many seller concessions, the fewer you ask for when making an offer, the more likely your offer is to be accepted, especially in a situation where sellers receive multiple offers.
5. Listen to the advice of the pros you hired.
The professionals you choose to work with (most often realtors and lending agents) during the home buying process should have the experience and savvy to give you good advice, help you avoid mistakes and make the home buying process smoother. While you have the final say when it comes to the terms and conditions you want to attach to an offer, you are working with seasoned pros because they have the experience to help you – so take what they say into consideration!
6. Don’t dilly dally.
Knowing that most homes in King, Pierce and Thurston counties aren’t staying on the market very long right now, if you find a property that interests you in an online listing or a home that interests you is going to be held open within a few days, don’t wait. This is another instance where working with a good realtor can make all the difference. Make sure you are working with a real estate professional who understands your housing need and is willing to show you the properties that most-interest you on fairly short notice. The sooner you have a chance to view the home and make an offer (or move on to other options), the better chance you have of getting in with an offer before other buyers.
7. Make your best offer.
Making your best offer isn’t just about money. In a situation where sellers may have multiple offers to consider, writing a personal letter about why you want the home and the life you envision for yourself there can help your offer stand out from the rest, even if other offers come in higher. Your thoughtfulness to the seller and personal connection counts, too!
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