Getting Attention: How to Buy in a Buyers Market

By: Virginia Wherland

You'd think that a buyer's market would mean that a buyer would have an easy time purchasing a new home. Unfortunately, while a buyers market means there are lots of homes available, it also means that everyone else is out there buying too.

Oftentimes, you make an offer, but it gets ignored because the buyer already has a couple of offers in that they are dealing with. How does your offer get the attention it needs to be accepted? The answer might surprise you.

First-off, it isn't always about money. While it is true that a nice high offer, especially if it is the highest offer the seller has yet received, will likely attract attention, there are other ways of getting noticed. One of the main ones is to have few or no terms and conditions on the sale. Conditions can seriously delay the final sale, adding extra expense to the seller in the way of repairs or extra inspections. Selling a home is a stressful process, and many sellers want everything to be over with as soon as possible. A high offer that requires the seller to do a lot of stuff before closing might get attention at first, but it probably will be seen as a hassle once the seller realizes the full consequences of the terms. Even if your offer isn't the highest, it may get attention if it is the quickest.

Another way to make your offer attractive is to be completely pre-qualified. I have heard so many horror stories of sellers committing to a sale with buyers who aren't pre-qualified for a mortgage. They end up waiting months while those buyers shop around for a mortgage, and sometimes, the sale will even fall through because the sellers were unable to get a mortgage at all. This should never happen if you are using a professional agent, as any self-respecting agent wouldn't let a seller get that far with someone who's not pre-qualified. But it happens all the time in for sale by owner situations.

No matter what the situation, getting yourself pre-qualified means a quicker sale, and again, this is attractive to sellers. It means you aren't a financial risk, and that there is less chance of unexpected surprises popping up that will delay the closing. So to be fair to the seller, and to make your offer stand out, be sure to be pre-qualified by a certified lender before you put an offer in on a home. Providing evidence of this pre-qualification will make your offer stand out, even if it isn't the highest.

Finally, if the market is hot for buyers, realize that any delays you cause could mean the seller accepting another offer. If you are involved in negotiations, and you really want the home, be prompt in responding to the seller or seller's agent. Until you have a signed acceptance of your offer, there is no deal, and the home could be scooped up by someone who's quicker on the draw.

Buying a home is exciting and fun, but it is business. Knowing how to do it well is your key to success.

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