How To Buy A House In A Seller’s Market
In Denver, our real estate market is very favorable for sellers. With the population growth we’ve experienced in the last few years combined with strong job and wage growth and declining inventory, seller’s have the upper hand in the market. With so many buyers competing for so few houses, here's a few strategies that will give you an advantage over your competition.
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1. Shop Under Your Price Point
Most of the houses in our market are going for list price or over list price. Start shopping houses that are priced about $20,000 below your maximum loan amount. If you’ve been pre-approved for a loan up to $300,000, you need look at houses in the $270,000-$280,000 price range. More than likely, especially around the $300,000 price point, you will be up against other offers on that property. You need to be able to offer over list price to have a shot at getting your offer accepted. It’s not uncommon for a house to sell for $10,000-$20,000 over asking price. If you’re only making offers on houses that are at your maximum price point, you can’t offer over list price, and you’re unlikely to have your offer accepted in a multiple offer situation.
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2. Look At Houses Now, Not Later
You’re not the only one that loves the beautiful 4 bedroom 3 bath ranch with the finished basement and huge backyard that just got listed. If you wait until Saturday to go see it, it might already be under contract. In a hyper competitive market like Denver’s, its better to go see houses within 24-48 hours of being listed. Call your realtor and swing by to check it out on your way home. If you like it, ask your realtor to write an offer that night. If you write a good offer, it will be hard for a seller to forgo instant gratification and not accept it before other offers come in.
3. Adjust Your Timing
To the degree that it’s possible, try to enter the market during seasonal lulls. Denver’s market is busy year round but there are still times when it’s less busy. The middle of the summer and around Christmas time tend to be much more favorable times for buyers. Many of the other potential home buyers are busy on vacation or spending time with family during these time and demand for homes slows down. Listings sit longer on the market and don’t receive as many showings or offers. Sellers are way more likely to accept an offer under asking price or compromise on other terms than any other time during the year.
4. Write Your Best Offer
Especially in a multiple offer situation, its important to write a very strong offer for the seller. If you come in trying to "see what you can get away with," your offer probably won’t even be considered. Escalation clauses, unnecessary contingencies, low ball offers, and seller concessions are not recommended. For ways to write a strong offer, see the link below.
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5. Be Prepared
Because homes in our market tend to move so quickly, it’s essential that you come in ready to go. You should have done your research and you should also have the time and commitment necessary to undertake the home buying process. Before looking at any homes seriously, you should have a pre-approval letter from a lender, know what neighborhoods or areas you want to live in, and know what the “must haves” are in your next home. Being prepared will allow you to make decisions more quickly and keep you in the game in our fast moving market.
More: Basics of Home Buying
If you're looking to buy this year, I'd love to help you become a home owner. Please feel free to reach out to me with any questions! Email Me