With low interest rates, a low supply of new houses, and an explosion of new buyers, the housing market is seeing a surge in demand – which means rising housing prices and a hyper-competitive seller’s market. While the market may be challenging (especially for new home buyers) you don’t have to give up just yet. Here are 5 tips to help you get an edge in your search for a home.
1. Get preapproved
In a competitive market, this first step can help set you apart immediately. Preapproval boosts your credibility by helping home sellers see that you’re qualified to purchase their home, and gives you crucial insight into how much buying power you have. For some homes, preapproval may even be a requirement to put in an offer.
2. Look for homes well under your budget
In a hot market, it’s reasonable for the winning bid to be one that’s well above the asking price. If you start looking at homes that are already pushing your budget, you may be putting yourself out of the running even before you send in an offer. Start your search with houses well below your budget, and give yourself a little extra room to put in a competitive bid.
3. Consider a fixer-upper
For first-time home buyers, a fixer-upper can be a great way to ease yourself into the housing market. Plus, after a few renovations, you may be able to resell the home at a profit. However, make sure to include plenty of budget for renovations, and make sure to get a home inspection to make sure that the home is worth the investment.
4. Take a deep breath – and be willing to wait.
With something as big as a home purchase, it’s easy to get caught up in emotions that lead to financially unwise decisions. It’s important to take a step back and consider all factors to ensure you’re buying a home you can actually afford. If your situation allows (or your budget is tight), it may be best to wait out the current market upswing until prices balance out again.
5. Get a good real estate agent
A real estate agent can help you get the upper hand in the housing hunt. Sure, you may think you can do it all on your own – but an agent can provide you with excellent connections, insider expertise on the neighborhoods you’re interested in, and great negotiating skills to help you get the right price.
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