If you’re looking for a home in a seller’s market, you’ll need a plan in place to avoid making mistakes. National and statewide real estate markets fluctuate frequently, making it tough to predict whether the market will favor sellers or buyers when it’s time to buy. Buyers in a seller’s market can get what they want, generally speaking, but they’ll need to bring their “A” game if they want to get it at the right price and at the right time.
Here are the top mistakes that buyers make in seller’s markets:
Not Making the Best Offer
When many people see the listing price of a home, they often wonder what they can really get the house for- this is a natural instinct, and it’s understandable, but you’ll need to avoid making a lowball offer in a seller’s market. Many buyers fail to get the home they want in such a market, as with a shortage of inventory and fierce competition, it can be hard to outbid another buyer willing to put their best deal down on the table. Be sure to lead with a strong offer to maximize your chances of getting the home you want.
Over-Analyzing the Purchase Price
Just as buying a home on impulse is risky, over-analyzing a home purchase in a seller’s market is ill-advised as well. If you wait too long to make an offer on the home you want, your risk of losing the home will greatly increase. If you’ve found the type of home you want, in a location you desire, in your price range, that meets your qualifications, don’t wait to make an offer (but be sure to have a preapproval in place and a down payment on hand).
Working with an Inexperienced Agent
If you’re looking for a new home and you find yourself in a seller’s market, you’re going to want to get all the help you can. By having a seasoned agent on your side, you’ll have a better chance of getting the home you want. In most cases, buyers don’t pay real estate agents anyway (sellers usually cover the broker’s fees). Working with a real estate agent will save you a ton of time and stress, as they’ll be able to provide tremendous insight regarding upcoming inventory.
Not Being Prequalified or Preapproved for a Loan
Your ability to be approved for a mortgage loan will be largely based on your steady income, low debt-to-income ratio, and high credit score, but your seller won’t know that unless you first get prequalified by a lender. It’s absolutely paramount to getting the home you want in a competitive market, and not getting prequalified sends a strong message to the seller that you’ll lag on getting your ducks in order and that you aren’t taking the house hunt seriously.
Not Being Prepared for a Bidding War
One of the biggest mistakes a buyer can make in a seller’s market is not being prepared for a bidding war, and it’s understandable- no buyer wants to be involved in such a battle for fear of going over budget. Be sure to set your search below your max budget, so there’s room to spare in case you find yourself in an over-asking bidding war.