We are in the midst of a very unique time in real estate. The pandemic has led to lower interest rates, homeowners are hunkered down in the comfort of their own homes – opting to stay put – while long-time-city-dwellers are looking to escape the close proximity of the city for the renewed comfort and safety of the suburbs.
That means it’s an attractive time to buy, financially. There is low inventory availability, and there’s exceptional demand for properties outside of the city.
Bottom line: It is a complicated time for buyers!
Homes are selling fast, with multiple offers, for as much as 20-30% over asking price.
As a realtor, the first thing I do when working with prospective buyers today is set expectations. By setting expectations about the reality of the current environment, we mitigate the potential for frustration while helping the buyer understand how they can best position themselves for success when the right property comes along.
There are a number of guidelines that can help make buyers more attractive to sellers, especially if they are looking at a multiple offer situation.
1. Plan ahead and get a pre-approval with a well-trusted, local bank.
As a realtor, I look favorably at local banks and lenders that are trusted by realtors and the local community. Ask your realtor who they trust, and if your comfortable doing so, ask other realtors and friends within the community.
Using a reputable, local lender, with a good reputation in the community can help move the process along faster, with fewer approval and closing date delays. This can give you an edge in a multiple offer situation.
2. If you can do a pre-inspection before making an offer, do it!
Personally, I would never recommend that my clients waive a home inspection. That can be a risky proposition, but you may be able to do a home inspection prior to making an offer!
In the current real estate market, many sellers are delaying reviewing offers for days, which may present an opportunity for buyers to conduct a preemptive home inspection. Essentially, this is a home inspection before the offer is made, and this allows you to waive the home inspection when you make your formal offer.
If a seller won’t give you permission or access to the property to do this prior to making an offer, you can schedule your home inspection prior to the offer deadline, meaning you could make it happen faster than the typical 10 days. Sometimes, cutting this down to 5 days can be attractive to a seller giving you a potential upper hand.
3. Have your realtor find out what’s important to the seller.
Maybe the seller wants to stay in the house for 4 months. Maybe they would rather not be bothered by having to clean out the contents of the shed. Have your realtor try to find out what would make the sale and transition easier for the seller. There may be small things that you can do, if you have some flexibility, to make you a more attractive buyer.
4. Don’t get caught in the feeding frenzy.
Homes are selling quickly and for over asking prices. You don’t have to get caught up in that frenzy. This, too, shall pass.
If, however, you find the property of your dreams and you’re prepared to really go after it, make sure you are fully informed. Determine what the house is worth on paper by talking to your realtor and reviewing comps to justify the price. Then, determine what the property is worth to you! Because we’re in the midst of a unique time in real estate, knowing what the house and worth, and what it’s worth to you personally, is essential to make an educated decision about your offer.
If you’re going to make an offer above asking, do it for your own reasons, not simply because you feel like the market demands it, and you have to.
5. Hire an experienced, full-time realtor.
When things are selling quickly, you need a full-time realtor who is always available, ready to move fast, and is on top of all of the important details.
Realtors, who have been at it for a long time, also have other tricks of the trade. They may not publicize their trade secrets – but experience brings knowledge and strategies for making things happen. When you are considering a realtor, ask if they have any strategies or tactics that they employ to help their buyers look more attractive to sellers.
6. Pick up the phone.
Yes, texting is convenient, but it never paints the full picture. Be prepared to speak to your realtor as frequently as needed to ensure you are working together to execute a flawless search and attractive buying strategy.
Following these steps can help put any buyer in a more attractive position in this unusual real estate market. Be diligent, thorough, and don’t get frustrated.