1. Understand and Stick to Your Budget
Before heading out to begin searching for your dream home, sit down and do some number-crunching. It’s important you have a clear idea of how much mortgage you can afford and how your monthly mortgage payment impacts other expenses like buying food, paying for tuition, etc.
If you need help determining your budget, there are a wealth of online tools you can use. From mortgage calculators to budget templates, you’ll head into home shopping and know definitively whether you should or shouldn’t entertain a bidding war with other buyers.
2. Get Pre-Approved
Go to your lender and secure pre-approval for a mortgage before you begin house hunting. This gives you an amount the bank is willing to give you, so you know how much house you can afford.
3. Gain the Seller’s Favor
Make a great first offer to the seller. This puts you in a favorable light and often makes the seller choose your offer above others.
To make sure you’re making a good offer, do a little homework to ensure that what you’re offering is similar to what other homes in the area have sold for. Your real estate agent can help you with this information.
4. Show Flexibility
Often times, sellers will have non-monetary requests that, if you agree to, can make the difference between winning the bidding war and losing it. A common request is a flexibility on the closing date. The seller may need more time beyond that date to finish moving. If this doesn’t bother you, agree to the terms and the house could be yours.
5. Don’t Place too Many Conditions on the Seller
Buyers often include conditions in their offer. Common ones center around financing and the home inspection. Beyond these, your offer may be less appealing to a buyer. Work with your real estate agent to create an offer that protects your interests without placing too many conditions on the seller.
6. Move Fast
In hot markets, it’s not uncommon for homes to sell the same day they are listed. If you find a home you like, move fast or someone else will. Make sure your down payment is readily available, your pre-approval is valid, and that you have an inspector at the ready.
7. Look to Buy During Slow Months
Even when the market is booming, there are months when the market is slow. During these times, you’ll experience less competition for your dream home. Spring and summer are the most popular times for people looking to buy, so try finding your dream home during other times of the year.