HAVE A GREAT AGENT AT YOUR BACK
The best way to ensure your time in the real estate battleground of a seller’s market is to have a fantastic buyer’s agent on your team. A well-connected Realtor will hear about properties before they come on the market and know exactly how to prepare your offer to be competitive against other buyers. You want to be sure your agent is familiar with the neighborhood and has a history of happy clients. Our best advice is, when choosing a real estate agent, listen to your gut. If they don’t seem engaged or very knowledgeable, or even if you just don’t feel like you are a compatible team–don’t sign a thing and find a new agent!
At Go With Ro, our buyer’s agents are experts of the field with experience securing buyers their dream home in every market environment. Give us a call to talk about the current state of the real estate market and what you can expect from your home buying process.
GET PRE-APPROVED FOR A MORTGAGE BEFORE LOOKING
In a fast-paced seller’s market, you want to have all your ducks in a row before throwing your hat in the ring. One of the best ways to show a seller that you are a qualified buyer is by obtaining pre-approval from a reputable lender. Presenting this shows the seller that you have already set the wheels in motion and are serious about making this deal a reality.
To be pre-approved, you will need to gather financial records before you meet with your loan officer. That will include:
- Proof of income:
- Tax statements for at least the past two years
- Latest pay stub that shows your year-to-date earnings
- Other income streams, such as child support, settlements, alimony, and so on.
- Proof of assets:
- Bank statements (checking and savings)
- Investment accounts
- Cash reserves
- Proof of creditworthiness:
- The lender will usually run a credit check, looking for good credit scores and consistent payment history.
- Proof of employment:
- Latest paystubs
- Employer contact information
It’s important to note that pre-approval and pre-qualification are not the same. Pre-approval is proof that you have shown your creditworthiness and you are very likely to get a mortgage as long as your finances and credit score remain the same. Pre-qualification simply provides an estimate of what you may be able to borrow.
EXPECT TO COMPROMISE
Though we are beginning to see more and more homes hitting the market post-pandemic, we are still in a period of low inventory and high demand. Approaching your home search with flexible expectations will expand the options you will have and make your home buying process much more enjoyable.
Sit down before you begin looking and identify what your core non-negotiables are that you need in a home, and what you can compromise on. Do you have wiggle room in your budget? Are you willing to commit to some renovations? Can you add another 10 minutes of commute time? Holding out for ‘the one’ may not be an option in a hot market. It may be smarter to approach home shopping by thinking about ways you could make a ‘good enough’ home work.
PREPARE A COMPETITIVE OFFER
You’ve battled it out in the fast-moving market and found the dream home–now how to secure it? Part of this goes back to being sure to have a strong real estate agent at your back, as they will provide the best advice for each unique home sale. While each buying process is different, there are some clear ways to be sure you’re submitting a very strong offer for your home.
There are obvious financial incentives that can boost the strength of your offer beyond simply offering over asking. Pre-approval gives you a leg up here as it demonstrates that lenders find you creditworthy. You can make your offer more enticing to sellers by making a larger down payment on the property or by including earnest money. Earnest money is also known as a good faith deposit and is designed to protect the seller if the buyer backs out. The money is refunded back to the buyer if the offer is turned down (be sure this is clearly stated in the purchase agreement) and goes toward the sale of the house if the offer goes through.
However, not all ways to strengthen your offer come from financial incentives. We encourage our buyers to limit contingencies in their offers as they add time to the home negotiation process and are unattractive to sellers looking to move on fast. In our current market, one of the strongest items to include in your offer is a rent-back agreement, which gives the sellers extra time to live in the home after closing.
Some buyers may also choose to write personal letters to the homeowner, expressing how much it would mean to them to live there. While somewhat unconventional, personal letters can show the seller you are serious about buying their house and that it will be in good hands. If you choose to write a personal letter, be sure to have an experienced agent read it over first. Well-meaning letters can create fair housing risks if they contain too much personal information that could be used knowingly or through unconscious bias as an unlawful basis for a seller’s decision.
STAY POSITIVE AND BE PATIENT
Though it is a difficult time to be a buyer, it is far from impossible. You will get through this period by maintaining a positive outlook and being patient. We are seeing the market recover from the pandemic slowly but surely and there will be great properties hitting the market steadily throughout your buying process. If you have questions about the market, do not hesitate to contact us at Rowena@GoWithRo.com or by phone 360-909-6399