So you're ready to make a move and find a new home. Whether this is your first time purchasing or you are a seasoned veteran, there is something you will soon find out. The market is moving FAST. After a slow housing slump, it seems things have picked up quite a bit and inventory has flopped to a "sellers market." What is a "sellers market" you ask? It is when there is less than six month inventory of available homes for sale, to accommodate the current buyer pool in any given market. This can be an exciting time for those working in the real estate field, but equally frustrating as well. There are a few things to help you get the home you love and avoid missing out.
1. Timing. This is key. As soon as a new listing pops up, it is crucial to be in the door right away. There is a phrase in real estate called "time is of the essence." This doesn't always pertain to presenting offers. It also relates to "early bird gets the worm." Basically, you snooze you lose. Do your homework in advance on the homes and neighborhoods you love, so when the opportunity arises you are well informed and ready to do something.
2. Make a swift, clean offer. Have your real estate agent prepare a market analysis and prepare yourself to make a good offer. What does this mean? It means this is NOT the time to come in and "low ball" or throw something low out and see if the seller will "take a bite." Sellers with homes that are priced right and looking good do not have time and do not have to deal with buyers who are not serious. Put your best foot forward and give it your best shot. A solid price, swift closing date, and leaving personal items out of the sale will get you your best result.
3. Be flexible. Some sellers may need a little more time to get out. By having some flexibility, your offer will look best when compared against others.
4. Remember, the more time passes- the more opportunity for a multiple offer situation and a "bidding war." Once your timely, clean offer is in- perhaps include an expiration date that includes a sense of urgency. Twenty four hours is pretty typical, but if you have an awesome offer and the sellers are local- move up the time just a bit. A seller has already had time to decide what they will/will not take for their property- and if you sent in a good one- there won't be much to think about.
Lastly, the biggest thing to remember is to not stress yourself out. This is a house, your next home, and it should be a good experience. If you feel good about it, go with it. Life is short, and so is the market time for really great, well priced homes these days.