Be Ready to Buy

By: Martin Lukac

You should be ready to buy a home before you start looking, especially if you are purchasing in an area that is a seller's market.

Despite the talk of a slowdown in real estate, there are areas of the country that are becoming or remain a sellers's market. If you are looking to purchase in one of these areas, you need to be ready to buy at any time.

In a seller's market, there are more buyers than there are homes for sale. Homes sell quickly and for slightly higher prices than they normally would. If you are seeing homes that you are interested in sell out from under you at more than the asking price, you may be looking in a seller's market. This means that conditions are more favorable for the seller. He or she has a lot of buyers to choose from, so the best offer is usually accepted.

What can you do to give yourself an increased edge in a seller's market?

Start by being ready to buy. Have your finances in order and be pre-approved for a mortgage. This will let you know how much you can spend. It lets the seller know that you mean business -- there is no "if I get financing" involved.

Make sure that you know what you want before you start looking. In a seller's market you have to know you want to buy when you see the home. You often have to immediately make an offer. Know what you can and cannot live without. This will let you weed out homes immediately. It will also help you know when you find the perfect home.

When you are in a seller's market, you need to have an agent looking out for you. There are a lot of details that have to be managed in submitting an offer and any subsequent counter offers. A Realtor will guide you to the homes that fit your criteria and help you feel out the sellers. The right agent can give you the perfect edge you need in finding and buying a home.

Be willing to sign an exclusive buyer's agreement with a buyer's agent. You will be more likely to see the newest listings once you are a committed buyer. You will also have the agent looking out for your best interests as you near the closing table.

In a seller's market, you will need to have the most attractive offer on the table in order to get a purchase contract. Make sure that the seller knows that you like the home and that you are prepared to buy it through an easy and fast transaction. The faster you can get to closing, the better for the seller. Try not to tack on any contingencies that aren't absolutely necessary.

If the bidding is close, you can throw in incentives to the seller. You could pay a larger portion of the closing costs or be willing to move-out or close sooner.

Buying in a seller's market requires preparation and quick thinking. Make sure you are ready for the quick pace that often comes with a buyer's market.

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