Looking to buy a home this year? Before launching your search, review these seven insider tips from realtors.
1. Start your search ASAP
If you’re thinking about entering the market, start the necessary steps now.
“Complete a mortgage application and get set up with an agent right away,” says Ron Leffler, a real estate broker in Alexandria, Virginia. “The faster you can start receiving valuable advice from these practitioners, the more informed you’ll be, even if you are six-plus months out from an actual purchase.”
Leffler added that by starting early, you’ll avoid last-minute scrambling.
2. When searching for a home online, set your maximum price to $15,000 to $20,000 less than for what you’re pre-approved.
Embrace this tip from Cheyanne Banks, a licensed real estate salesperson of Nest Seekers International, in both Palm Beach, Florida and also Jersey City, New Jersey.
“The first secret to buying a home in 2022 is to set your maximum price in your online home searches,” she shares with Fox News. “The reason I suggest this is that if you encounter a bidding war situation, which is very common in current real estate market conditions, you’ll be significantly comfortable making an offer over the seller’s asking price without overextending your budget.”
3. Do your homework on your realtor.
Doing this up front will make a big difference in your home-buying process.
“Interview and hire a realtor that has several years of experience working in multiple-offer scenarios,” says Banks. “When interviewing a buyer’s agent to represent you, be sure to ask them how many transactions they have handled that had four or more offers, and, of those, how many of them did they have accepted?”
Banks also recommends asking potential realtors what techniques they intend to use to make your offer more attractive to a seller, particularly if you’re planning to finance your purchase, and you are competing with cash buyers.
4. Be flexible with your “must-have” criteria.
Yes, the game room, basement workshop, and dreamy kitchen island would be great and all, but are they non-negotiable?
“Dive deep into what is truly important to you and your lifestyle when it comes to the home you’re buying. Your ‘must-have’ criteria may be a two-car garage, a pool, or proximity to your work location, but perhaps you’re willing to forego an in-unit washer and dryer, a balcony, or a water view,” says Banks.
“Have a thorough consultation with your real estate agent about these wants and needs prior to viewing homes,” she continues, adding that in a real estate market with low inventory and a surplus of buyers, being too rigid or non-negotiable can result in a narrow home search and missed opportunities.
5. Be ready to move quickly with an offer.
Again, as Banks points out, this means being pre-approved before you start looking at homes, “so when your dream home hits the market, your agent is able to submit your offer to the seller straight away.”
Banks notes that it’s not uncommon for a seller to be more inclined to take the first or second offer they receive after listing their home.
“The reason for this is that it indicates to the seller that the buyer is serious and more likely to be committed to the deal, resulting in a higher probability of the ultimate goal for both parties involved, getting to the closing table smoothly,” Banks says.
6. Show the seller you’re serious.
After you get the offer in, go the extra mile.
“When there are multiple offers to choose from, sometimes the financial difference between the leading offers is minimal. Look for creative ways to lower the seller’s risk to make your offer more attractive,” says Leffler. “Reducing the number of contingencies you have is the first step, we saw many buyers drop most or all of them in 2021. Consider a very high or non-refundable earnest money deposit, which sends a serious message, [though you should] make sure you’re willing to go that far.”
7. Cash is king.
If you can swing it, cash offers or upping the amount of cash you’re paying up-front is ideal.
“While the majority of us have to get a mortgage, explore ways to write a cash offer or offer more cash down. There are many avenues, retirement accounts, parents, investments that could provide the liquidity to make a cash offer even if it is not your first preference,” says Leffler. “Offering the ability to purchase in cash even if obtaining a mortgage is what the offer says might be an attractive quality in your package.”
“Be sure to accurately deliver your abilities in your offer,” Leffler adds. “Dishonesty is a sure-fire way to swiftly disqualify yourself or get booted from a transaction.”