- By reframing your priorities or looking in new market areas, you may be able to beat the competition in today’s buyer-heavy market
- Sick of losing in multiple offers? By tracking local sales numbers, you may be able to find your bidding sweet spot
- Buyers can also look at fixer-uppers, which tend to draw in fewer offers and buyer attention — but can often hold the best deal in town
Bidding wars. All-cash deals. Your dream house going to “contingent” before you’ve even opened the new listing email alert.
It’s a sellers’ market, and as a buyer, you’re likely frustrated by the price of homes in your desired area and the pace at which they’re selling. Before you give up on buying this summer, here are four insights you can use to help land your dream house once and for all.
1. Consider a “sister” city
If you’re finding that your ideal location is also the dream neighborhood for hundreds of other eager buyers, it may be time to expand your search to neighboring or similar areas.
Ask your REALTOR® if there are other communities that have a similar vibe to the area you love. If you’re attracted to Richfield because of its central location and relatively low prices, perhaps Hopkins would be a good alternative.
If you love the small-town charm of Chaska, maybe it’s time to look in Prior Lake (or vice versa). And if you have had your eye on a lake home boasting the best trout fishing in Minnesota, maybe it’s time to search the DNR website to see where else you’d have a lucky reel.
2. Reframe your priorities
Are you most committed to a specific school district? Is your main goal to avoid the crushing, snowy commutes of winter and the orange construction zones that eat up your precious summers? Do you need a one-bedroom, dog-friendly condo or a three-bedroom house with ample bathrooms for your growing family?
These are great examples of top priorities that should act as the anchor to your search. But some buyers tend to focus on a list of smaller details — everything from hardwood floors to updated landscaping — that can quickly send their search off-course.
Start from scratch, naming three or four priorities that your dream home either has or doesn’t have. Move everything else to a second list of “nice to have” features.
When you see a house that has something from this second list, it’s okay (and natural) to get excited about it. But when it comes to bidding on a house, work from your top list of priorities and recognize that you can always put in hardwood floors or that perfect backyard patio.
3. Track the market to stop losing in multiple offers
There are few things that are worse than losing in a bidding war. To combat this trend, you and your Realtor can start strategizing your next series of offers based on the final sold prices of a home (or homes) you lost out on.
If you find that you’ve been close to the winning bid on past offers, work with your agent and loan officer to determine if you can afford to go a bit higher next time. Ask your agent for their expert opinion on your area’s “sweet spot” price — the offer that would win the sale without going too much over the second-highest bid.
If you have hit your ceiling and you’re regularly being outbid by a large amount, it may be that your dream house is out of range right now. Talk with your agent about alternative areas or housing styles that may be a better fit.
4. Consider a fixer-upper
If you’re not afraid to roll up your sleeves (or don’t mind living in a construction zone for a short while), consider a fixer-upper that can be financed with a 203(k) loan. These rehab loans are backed by the Federal Housing Administration (FHA) and they incorporate both your home mortgage loan and the anticipated costs of your remodel into one loan package.
Most buyers love the look of a home with a flawless HGTV finish, but far fewer are willing to consider a home that needs some love and restoration. By narrowing your focus to homes that resemble the “before” photos of your favorite remodeling shows, you’ll likely compete against a smaller pool of buyers.
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