The real estate market has rebounded from its temporary slow-down in most areas, and now buyers may be challenged to locate and grab homes before someone else does. Whether you're searching first time homes or luxury mountain homes for sale, navigating this hot market takes a bit more preparation to compete for the best homes at the best prices. Read on for some tips on making sure that you'll snag that home of your dreams.
Get Your Financial House in Order
The days of waiting until you've found "the one" are over; nowadays most house hunters have already qualified for a home with a lender. To make sure you get the financing you need, get your credit score as high as possible and pay off or down as many debts as you can.
Be Ready to Show Proof
The times of so-called "no doc" loans have come and gone, and now most lenders require virtual mountains of documentation to prove income. Gather the last several months of pay stubs, bank statements, income tax returns and more. For the self-employed, you may need to show a Schedule C and a profit and loss statement.
Narrow Down Your Choices
It cannot be overemphasized how important it is to set up some priorities in your search. You may not find exactly what you want, but you should have at least few "no-budge" features and few "wishes". For example, you might be firm on location, a one-story and at least 3 bedrooms, but be willing to compromise on home style, bathrooms and an updated kitchen. Some things can be changed, and some not so easily. Don't waste valuable time looking at homes that don't fulfill your needs, but being flexible with some wishes could open up a larger variety of available homes.
Get Some Support in Your Search
Getting the heads-up quickly on new homes to the market can give you a boost ahead of others, and getting a special type of real estate agent on your side is the perfect way to do that. Using a buyer's agent is free of charge, since the home seller pays the commission and they are ethically bound to put your best interests at the forefront.
If you are fully prepared to make an offer by taking care of all of the above, you still need to quickly make a decision when you find a suitable home. You may not have time to "sleep on it", particularly when the home you like is accepting offers and back up offers.
Be Willing to Pay
While bargaining to get a home price lower is the usual way, in a hot market it is not all that uncommon for sellers to receive offers at their selling price or even above that price. Know what you are willing to pay, and understand that negotiating for a better price could lose you that house.