Home Buyer Guide to Surviving a Competitive Market

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Ashley Schultz

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Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the past 12-18 months, I’m sure you’ve been hearing about how competitive the current housing market is for home buyers. This is due to a shortage of housing inventory available. While this ends up being great for sellers because there is a LOT of competition for their house when they decide to list, it has led to a very competitive and difficult market for buyers. This has also led to some sellers waiting to list their home because they fear not being able to find a house to move into, too.

Though this is definitely a seller’s market right now, I’m here to share some tips for all the current/future home buyers out there that are either in the market or looking to enter it soon.

Here are 6 tips to help home buyers survive in a competitive housing market:

START THE PROCESS EARLY: If you have decided that this is the time to buy a home, you should absolutely be starting the process a few months ahead of time. Because of the shortage of inventory, it’s taking some buyers longer to find their home. This is either because there isn’t much to choose from on the market or because of losing out on homes in multiple offer situations. I usually recommend contacting a real estate agent at least 3-6 months out from when you think you’re ready to buy to start the process.

GET YOURSELF A REALLY GOOD REAL ESTATE AGENT: I can’t stress this enough – not all real estate agents are created equal! You’ll want to ask family/friends for recommendations, but you should also then do some additional research. I recommend interviewing agents, looking them up online to see what they offer and to see if you can get a feel for what it would be like to work with them, and making sure that it’s a good fit for you! It will be important to make sure you ask how they are dealing with this competitive market and helping their clients to win in bidding wars, too.

BE READY TO BE PATIENT: This one can be tough – I know. Especially when you’re a first-time home buyer and you are so excited to get out there, start seeing homes, and find THE ONE.. This market is forcing home buyers to exercise a lot of patience. It’s likely that you may find a home that you love, but you lose out in a bidding war and have to start over. You may also need patience in waiting for more listings to hit the market that match the criteria that you’re looking for. Right now, it’s important that your real estate agent set realistic expectations with you from the beginning about what has been going on in the market so you are prepared and ready for all that may come.

START WITH GRATITUDE: Going along with patience, having gratitude during this process will be almost as important. Like I said previously, there is a high probability that you are going to miss out on a house that you thought was perfect for you. This can be extremely discouraging while battling through multiple offer situations, but this will be a moment where it’s important to take a moment and be grateful for the fact that you are even able to pursue your dream of owning a home. There are a lot of people out there that wish they could do the same, but are unable. If you start to feel discouraged and frustrated during the process, try to take a few minutes to be thankful that you are in a position where you are financially able to buy a home. Use this to refuel your passion and keep moving towards your dream!!

KNOW YOUR EXACT BUDGET: To be a competitive home buyer you absolutely need to know your budget. And I don’t just mean your home-buying budget – I mean ALL of it. I always recommend that clients figure out how much they want to spend on a house by taking a close look at all of their expenses and then getting pre-approved to see how much they can spend. However, just because you are pre-approved for a certain amount doesn’t mean that you necessarily want to spend that! It’s important to see what you are comfortable with and then sticking to searching for homes that are within that budget, or even below that amount so you give yourself some wiggle room to compete in multiple offer situations.

HAVE YOUR MUST-HAVES & DEAL BREAKERS: Before even starting the process of buying a home, it’s important that you list out all of our must-haves and deal breakers – and stick to it! All too often I see buyers missing out on homes and then starting to compromise on things that were major deal breakers for them before just so they can get a house. What ends up happening? Buyer remorse…and it’s a REAL thing. When you start to compromise on the things that were once non-negotiable, you’re likely going to regret it. Keeping yourself focused on homes that meet your criteria, even if it may take a little longer in the end to find one, is going to ultimately lead you being truly happy with your home purchase instead of wishing you would’ve kept searching.

Hopefully you’ll find this information helpful if you’re currently out there grinding to get a house, or if you’re thinking about buying a home soon. If you have any other tips or helpful advice for home buyers, share it in the comments!

If you want more helpful info as a first-time home buyer or move-up buyer, check out the resources page of my website HERE for some great free downloads!

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