With many areas in the United States suffering from a tight housing market, it can be hard to find the house you really want at a price you can afford. In a seller's market, a buyer needs to be more diligent and more flexible. Here are four tips for any potential home buyer, from new to experienced:
Have Money Ready. Tight real estate markets mean you have to be ready to go before you look at a single house. You'll need to line up the financing and have your down payment ready. In addition, you should already have cleaned up any bad marks on your credit so your score is as good as possible. And make sure you've already adjusted your monthly budget to account for new payments.
Work With an Agent. Real estate agents are even more important during a busy market. Why? They have established relationships with many of the professionals you'll need in order to get your house closed quickly. In addition, they often know of properties that may not be obvious—or may not even be listed—on the multiple listing services or on the internet.
Stand Out. Once you find a property you like, set yourself apart from the crowd through two main methods. First, don't try to chase after bargains and deals. This is the time to put your cards on the table with a great offer. And back that up with a larger money deposit than normal. Second, be personal with the sellers. Contact them by calling them directly on the phone rather than relying on email or text messages. And you could even write them a personal letter explaining what you want to do with their home. Families want to know their home is going to be cared for, and this may make an impact that money alone doesn't.
Look Beyond. With more people competing for the same houses, you'll probably need to be flexible about some aspects of the home. You may need to accept a few repairs or the need to make some renovations to the layout. And being less concerned with making the buyer repair or replace things can get the sale done quicker. If you can afford it, removing some contingencies is another great way to make the sale.
While almost no one likes to buy a house during a tough market time, it can be done. And by following these few guidelines as you search, you can ensure a better purchase and less stress.