Buyers Tips In A Competitive Market
It’s no secret, the housing market in West Michigan is strongly in favor of sellers right now. With homes being sold in days (and sometimes hours), multiple offer situations, and a market where inventory is scarce, buyers can often be left feeling unprepared, unsure, and vulnerable as they attempt to step out and find their dream home. If you are someone who is getting ready to start the home-buying process, here are some suggestions for how to make buying a home go as smoothly and stress-free as possible.
Find An Agent You Trust Be picky! Find a real estate agent that you trustand has a strong reputation in your local community. It is becoming more and more common for consumers to interview real estate agents to make sure that they have someone who is personable, knowledgeable, and a skilled negotiator. Buying a home will likely be one of the largest financial transactions of your life, so don’t be afraid to take some time to find the right agent to work with your family. If you find a home you love, resist the urge to call the agent whose name is on the sign. That agent is working on behalf of their seller and has their best interests in mind. They were literally hired to get the most for their seller, making it their ethical responsibility is to get the most money they can for their seller. What some buyers don’t know is that when that seller signed their contract to sell their home, they already agreed to a percentage of the sale of their home being paid out to a buyers agent. So, having a buyer’s agent on your side is free to you, and essential for you to be represented well.
Be Ready To Write An Offer As many buyers have found out the hard way, the market in this area is hot right now. If you aren’t pre-approved for a loan and ready to write an offer immediately, you might miss out on the house of your dreams. So, when you are ready to start looking at houses, your first step will be to contact a local lender. Don’t be afraid to ask your real estate agent for a suggestion. No two lenders or agents are exactly the same and having an experienced realtor suggest an experienced local lender can often make a big difference in the timing of getting to the closing table. After you have chosen a lender, get all of your financial documents in order for them. This will include your most recent pay stubs, W2’s, your last two tax returns and bank statements. The loan process is the longest piece of buying a new home and if you have already provided these documents to your lender they can approve you and not just pre-qualify you. Lastly, keep your money where it is. Don’t make any large purchases unless you talk to your lender about how that could affect your credit and loan approval status. Hold off on that new furniture or that new car/camper/boat until after you have closed on your dream home. Be Prepared And Be Patient In most of my transactions this summer, there have been multiple offers. Talk to your agent about how to write the strongest possible offer. Unfortunately, the time to get a “steal” on a house or have low-ball offers accepted has passed. Your local agent will be able to assess by comparing the house you want with others that have recently sold in a similar price range to make sure that you aren’t going to write an offer that would be considerably more than the house is worth or could resell for in the future. Be ready for the stress of a multiple offer situation and trust your agent to both advocate for you by writing a strong and reasonable offer, but to also look out for you and protect you from over-investing in a property that won’t give you that same return in the future. Be patient. I know it is a nerve-wracking time to be a buyer. It might feel like you are going to miss out on the house of your dreams, but trust the process. Trust your realtor. Trust your gut. If you miss out on a house that you were excited about, be encouraged to know that you can have that same feeling in another house, and that you very likely will end up in the house you were meant to be in all along.