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5 Quick Tips For Buyers During This Abnormally Hot Housing Market
Dated: October 21 2020
If the third quarter of 2020 proved anything, it’s that the real estate market hit a fever pitch rather than being stopped by COVID-19. The typical spring selling season turned into a healthy fall seller’s market. In fact, in agent-matching service, HomeLight’s third-quarter survey of 1,000 top real estate agents nationwide showed that 92 percent of agents reported seller’s market conditions.
However, 87 percent of agents surveyed said that inventory is much lower than they had expected. At the same time, historically low interest rates are bringing buyers out in droves.
So, what does this mean for hopeful buyers? It means you’ll have to be at the top of your game with a strong agent to get “the one” when it comes on the market — and you’ll have to make decisions quickly.
Homes are selling uber-fast; in fact, Zillow reported in July that we hit a record low of 20 days on market, a stat worth paying attention to as you hunt. Because homes are moving quickly, buyers are putting in offers immediately, so you have to get your ducks in a row before you start seriously looking.
Find an agent and a lender
It’s always good to know exactly what kind of financial shape you’re in before falling in love with a home on the market that will probably sell faster than your loan could get approved. So start by finding a lender or an agent to refer you to a lender. Once you have your finances in order, you should find an agent if you haven’t already. Lenders work with many agents, so you can ask your lender, or you can use a service such as HomeLight to match you with a top agent in your area.
Watch the market
Once you have an agent, he or she can set you up with an MLS (multiple listing service) search, but it doesn’t hurt to download consumer real estate apps, such as Zillow, realtor.com, Keller Williams, Redfin, etc.
As you watch the market, note what you like and don’t like about homes in your area, and create a must-have list. Also, pay attention to what homes you’re looking for are priced at, how fast they’re selling, and where they are. This will help you get used to the market pace and narrow down exactly what you want and can afford.
You might find that a fixer-upper is your best bet. You might find the perfect home and decide to buy sight-unseen, or you might find that resale homes aren’t your thing and decide to go for new construction.
Craft a strong offer
Should you go for a resale, an older fixer-upper or something newer, your offer game needs to be strong because 88 percent of surveyed agents told HomeLight that bidding wars are on the rise or at their peak.
Start by talking to your agent about what he or she is seeing in your marketplace. Make sure your lender and your agent are on the same page and that you know what you’re buying power looks like.
Here are a few potential ways to make your offer stronger:
Waive inspection contingencies: In July, Redfin reported that 20 percent of winning bids waived inspection contingencies. That simply means that your buyer offer doesn’t hinge on an inspection.
Close the appraisal gap: According to Inman contributor Alex Neir, “Appraisal gap coverage is stating in the offer that the buyer will cover any shortage between the offer price and the appraised value.”
Go in over asking: Eighty-seven percent of agents in the HomeLight survey said buyers are bidding over asking price to get offers accepted.
Make a clean offer: Seventy-nine percent of agents surveyed said a clean offer, one with no requests for concessions or closing costs, is critical.
Write a buyer love letter: These are simple notes that agents include with the offer that let the sellers know why their house is “the one” for you. Many sellers want their home to go to someone who will love it as much as they do. But be careful not to include demographic details to avoid violating fair housing laws.
Prepare yourself for potential delays
We’re in the middle of a pandemic full of uncertainty as well as a presidential election. Simple delays for materials could be a problem, as well as a slew of other potential hiccups. Read up on the possible delays in the homebuying process, so that you’re at least mentally prepared for the possibilities.
We do not doubt that with a good agent and lender team, persistence and timing, you’ll be in your next home soon.
Meet Taj Richardson: I have lived on the Oregon Coast since 1994. I graduated from Nestucca High School in 1996. After several years in college and traveling, I made my way to Lincoln City in 2003. I ....
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