Can buyers do well for themselves in a sellers market?
Currently, a number of big metro areas like Austin and Houston are experiencing a sellers market. The higher prices, low inventory, and heavy competition between buyers can understandably make buyers reluctant to try to purchase a home now.
But just because it's a sellers market, doesn't mean that there aren't strategies you can use to find a beautiful house within your budget. The following are 10 home-buying tricks for a crazy market:
1) Mail homeowners a letter, even if their home isn't on the market. If you see a home you really like, you may want to take the chance of mailing a letter to the homeowners, introducing yourself politely and expressing appreciation of their home and your willingness to purchase it. Be sure you're coming across as professional, courteous and trustworthy. Some homeowners will ignore such a letter, but there's a chance that others will get back to you if they've been thinking about selling their home.
2) Develop a knowledge of the area. If you already live in the vicinity, you may have an easier time familiarizing yourself with the neighborhood you want to live in. For example, you can find out if there are any empty-nesters or senior citizens who are thinking of selling, and you can hear other information through word-of-mouth. If you live too far away, it's especially important to have an agent on your side who knows the area inside-out.
3) Look into pre-market listings. One example is Zillow's Make Me Move list. There's of course no guarantee that you'll find a home by doing this; just because a home appears on this kind of list, doesn't mean that it will available for sale soon (and owners may always change their mind about selling). But maybe you will spot an opportunity.
4) Look into For Sale By Owner (FSBO) listings. FSBO listings involve homeowners who are trying to sell their home without an agent. If you go this route, you may find some homes at relatively lower prices, though this isn't a guarantee. Also, you'll need to make sure the seller is on the up-and-up with all disclosures that need to be made.
5) Look into expired listings or listings that have been withdrawn. There are a number of reasons for why the listing for a home expires. Checking out these listings might be a good way to find out about homes that owners would still like to sell.
6) Don't overlook estate sales. You might find out about estate sales in the area and attempt to reach out to the parties involved before they list the property.
7) As much as possible, get everything prepared. Check that your credit is good and that you have the money you need. Try to get pre-approval for a mortgage. Define your limits, including the maximum you'd be willing to hand over for a down payment and what you'd be willing to negotiate on. In a sellers market, homes can get sold extremely quickly. If you find a home you like, you want to be ready to pounce.
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