January 12, 2015

VERY Competitive: How to Position Yourself in a Hot Market

I recently came across an article in January’s Philly Mag titled: “Letters From the (Real Estate) Trenches” that told one family’s story of their quest to purchase their dream home in Fairmount.  Despite several attempts to purchase a home in the blocks surrounding their apartment, the couple found themselves being continually outbid by other buyers.  A combination of little inventory and high demand factored into a VERY stressful situation for them.  Getting creative, they won the day by embarking on a letter-writing campaign to their neighbors asking whether they might be interested in selling their home.  One man answered their plea and the rest was history.

This article stayed with me because I have worked with buyers who have been faced with a similar problem – too few houses, too much demand – leading to a bidding war for a property.  This process can be both daunting and costly as often the home sells for more than the list price.

As we approach the Spring Selling Season, here are some tips to put you in a strong competitive position to make an offer when you find your dream home:

1. Be educated on the neighborhood where you want to live – ask your real estate professional to share market statistics, understand the inventory levels and how quickly homes are selling

2. Have a realistic understanding of prices – it will help you to formulate a realistic offer

3. Be ready to walk away – know your top number and don’t stretch beyond where you are comfortable

4. Get creative in your offer terms – it isn’t always price that wins the day.  Perhaps the seller is motivated by a quick closing date or wants to see you are committed to the transaction by making a strong earnest money deposit

5. Move quickly when you find the house you want  – its not uncommon to find your dream home on your first tour.  Being the first offer has its advantages

6. Get your finances in order – establish a strong relationship with a lender before viewing properties so that he can produce a pre-approval letter quickly

7. Position yourself as a backup in case another offer falls through

8. Hire a real estate agent who is well connected in the neighborhood you’re interested in living to get ahead of the listings