Buying a Home in a Seller's Market

Dated: July 9 2020

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If you're shopping for a house, then you know how crazy competitive it is out there right now. In this seller's market, how in the world are you supposed to compete as a buyer? 


Have you ever accomplished something in your life that was absolutely amazing, that you were so proud of, and that worked out really well for you? Did you accomplish that because you didn't plan or strategize or because you weren't prepared? I doubt it. Your approach to buying a house should really be no different. With such a robust pool of buyers, preparation and strategy are going to be the key to getting your offer accepted. 

My number one tip before you go online and start house shopping or taking tours with a realtor is to get online or sit down and get pre-approved, not just pre-qualified, by your lender. There's absolutely no way around it, especially in this market. If you don't know what you can afford or whether or not you can even qualify, you're going to be wasting time and emotional energy falling in love with a home that you can even purchase. In addition, other buyers who are also making an offer on the same property and who are already pre-approved are most likely going to get their offers placed ahead of yours. In this fiercely competitive market, you have got to move quickly when you find a property that you like. So you can understand why it's so important to not only be pre-approved but also to know your budget and to know exactly how much good faith money or earnest deposit that you want to submit with your offer.


There are so many great reasons to partner with an agent, especially in the seller’s market. Experienced agents, we do this all the time. We have mastered our craft of negotiation and we can also offer really helpful tips and advice to help get your offer accepted, especially if you're in a multi-offer situation. Second, with homes going in a matter of days or sometimes even hours of being listed, it's really important that your realtor help you use technology and the MLS to get the properties in front of you as soon as they hit the market. I can tell you just a quick story. The last property that I closed on, that particular home came on the market and went under contract and fell through twice. Each time the home was only on the market for about 24 hours. The reason we were able to get that is that my clients used technology. I had them set up on an automatic email so that the minute that property came back on the market we were aware of it.


We got out there that same day, put it under contract, and subsequently closed. So you can see having technology and getting these properties as soon as possible and getting out to them right away is going to help you tremendously. The best part about hiring a buyer's agent is we're free, at least for the buyer anyway. Unless you've made it part of your negotiations, our commission is paid from the seller. Find the best realtor money can buy and hire them to represent you through the transaction. Not only can we educate you about the process, but we can keep you on track, prepare you for what's coming next, and offer you protection during the transaction.


Once you've decided on the terms that you want to offer, you're going to sit with your real estate agent and put together a purchase and sales agreement. You're going to submit that along with the appropriate addendums, a pre-approval letter from your lender, proof of your escrow funds, and a personal letter to the seller from you as the buyer if that's something that you want to submit too. Now, having a real estate agent that really, truly understands how to completely fill out and explain this contract to you, excels in detail, and is able to put everything together complete in one setting and submit it to the other agent, it is going to make an impression. I know that sounds a little weird, but I have experienced getting offers in and the agents are sometimes so worried about being the first one in that the paperwork comes over, incomplete are sloppy, and then it's a lot of back and forth and wasted time.


There are listing agents who may advise clients to work with someone who's a little bit more professional and who may have a little bit more of a solid footing. Like anybody else, they want to know that this is a solid deal and it's going to close for their clients and they don't want to work with someone who's not a professional. Just saying. 


And finally, to increase your chances of getting your offer accepted on the home of your dreams put in a backup offer. Most people don't even think about it and I don't often hear agents suggest it to their clients. More times than not, I find that once a house goes under contract everyone sort of moves on to the next one and just continues their search. But keep in mind that, on average, 24% of deals fall through. So if you have time and a little bit of patience, this is definitely a great way to keep you in the game and to help increase your odds of getting the house that you really want.

I know it's tough being a buyer right now. My clients and I have faced and thankfully won multi-offer situations recently. It was not easy but I can tell you that preparation, technology, and communication was absolutely key in getting our offer accepted. If you're able to follow the advice that I've given you up to this point, you'll definitely find that you are not only a more empowered but also a more competitive buyer.

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Misty Harris

Meet Misty Harris - a U.S Army Veteran and licensed professional REALTOR with JP & Associates Realtors Metro Atlanta. Misty has always been passionate about real estate. It began with her admiration ....

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