In today’s housing market buyers need to move fast.
Sometimes buyers realize this, sometimes they don’t. But I had a buyer the other day comment, once she started looking at homes in her price range, that “I guess we need to move fast” since homes she liked in her price range were gone in a day.
It can be especially hard as a first time buyer to realize market demands are such that in order to get the home you want means moving forward quickly. Being fully prepared to make such a huge purchase, and then being decisive, can be a challenge. But for those who want to buy in a competitive market, it’s pretty much essential.
Here are 6 strategies to get you there fast.
GET PRE-APPROVED WITH A REPUTABLE LENDER
Yes, we Realtors harp on this constantly. There’s a reason for that. Sellers and their agents want to know you are financially in a position to purchase a home and there is a strong likelihood of you closing.
You need to prove that with a full, written and current pre-approval that will convince a seller you are golden (credit, assets, income, etc.). Your lender should be readily available to make any changes in the pre-approval letter, depending on your offer, and perhaps also to take a call from the listing agent to ask a few questions, or even contact the L.A. once your offer has been submitted to emphasize how qualified you are.
Sorry, but an online lender is not going to impress most sellers or their agents.
Knowing exactly what you can afford to buy, based on your loan qualifications but also your personal budget, will make you more confident, enabling you move ahead quickly as needed.
KNOW AS MUCH ABOUT THE MARKET AS YOU CAN
You need to quickly get educated about the local market conditions. Some of that comes about through research and looking at listing activity, but your Realtor (who hopefully knows the market thoroughly) can and should help you understand what’s taking place in the local market and what this means for making a competitive offer. For example are most properties getting multiple offers and selling for over asking price? Lack of understanding leads to hesitancy to act quickly.
ASSUME OTHER WILL BE INTERESTED
Making assumptions in real estate is generally not smart. It’s better to ask questions and to verify than just assume. But in the case of competition, I feel pretty comfortable telling buyers to always assume there will be competition and act accordingly. That means making a strong offer and without delay.
KNOW WHAT YOU WANT
You really should have a good idea of what you want, but more importantly what you need. And that means realizing there are trade-offs and you simply will not get everything you would like. If you are still waffling about those amenities you would like to have, or are unclear about where you really want to be, you are not going to be able to move quickly. Or if you do make a decision it will be the wrong one. It’s a waste of time and energy, and emotionally draining.
UNDERSTAND THE OFFER PAPERWORK AND THE PURCHASE PROCESS
If you aren’t provided one, ask for it! Understanding the important decisions you have to make (offer price, closing date), the contingencies to include (inspection, appraisal, loan, HOA), and competitive terms and conditions up front will save you time, and you won’t have to angst over it when it’s time for writing that offer
You also want to discuss the purchase process with your Realtor before making an offer so you know what to expect. Confusion around what to expect, or what happens first, then second, etc., will lead to uncertainty, which will not allow you to move quickly when you need to.
HAVE A MINDSET OF DECISIVENESS
In order to move fast you will have to be prepared to decide quickly, not think about it for a day or two. It’s not easy to do, especially with a big purchase like a home. And perhaps you are just a bit more cautious in your decision making…and that’s fine. The important issue is that if you are ready (you are qualified, you know what you want, you like what you found, and there is competition), be prepared to make a decision to move forward fast.
It’s perfectly fine if moving quickly is, well, just too fast for you right now. You certainly don’t want to make a hasty decision. But you must realize there are possible consequences of delaying a decision on a home you really like, want, and can afford. You may have to step outside your comfort zone.
Understanding the market, doing your homework, being prepared, and working with a good Realtor will put you in the best position to react quickly when the right house comes along. Then it’s up to you!