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Buying In A Competitive Market? How A Local Loan Officer Can Help You Win a Bidding War

At HomeLight, our vision is a world where every real estate transaction is simple, certain, and satisfying. Therefore, we promote strict editorial integrity in each of our posts.

Today’s real estate market is more competitive than ever. With housing inventory low across the country, more homebuyers are entering bidding wars.

In cities like Denver and San Francisco, homes fly off the market in record time. So what does this mean for you when you’re ready to purchase a house?

You’ve got to utilize any edge you can get over the competition. One way to gain an advantage is to use a local loan officer. Here’s why:

Source: (CoWomen/ Unsplash)

A local has relationships

One reason to choose a local loan officer is the fact that they have relationships with real estate professionals in the area. A lender with a strong record of closing deals in your market can give listing agents a boost of confidence in your home offer.

“Agents become aware of a local loan officer,” said Richard Helali, one of Eave by HomeLight’s expert loan officers. “Eventually when they see an offer come through with that loan officer’s name on the pre-approval, they think ‘oh, they were awesome last time, I know these people!’”

In a market where homes sell like hotcakes, these relationships can be make-or-break. A lender with a local presence can give your offer that extra push it needs.

Local loan officers can offer speed

When you’re in a competitive market, time is of the essence.

In Denver, for example, luxury homes spend an average of just 17 days on the market; in Silicon Valley, it’s a mere 11 days. Meanwhile, the average home loan takes around 43 days to close.

In cities with quick turnarounds, buyers are often up against multiple bids, not to mention all-cash offers. A local who truly understands your market may be more adept at getting you to the closing table quickly.

With a large lender, your application may not be prioritized, or your loan officer might not really understand how to navigate your market.

A boutique lender with a local presence, on the other hand, knows all the tricks to making you a competitive buyer in your area. A few lenders can even underwrite your financials prior to making an offer, strengthening your bid and making home sellers more likely to choose your bid.

Ultimately, a home seller wants confidence that a deal will close, and that the transaction will be as quick and painless as possible.

A lender with a local presence, strong relationships and a record of closing homes quickly can make all the difference in pushing your offer over the top.

Tips for choosing a lender in a competitive market

  • Compare lenders: Buying a home is one of the biggest purchases of your life. Always research and compare lenders before making a decision. Make sure your lender has a history of closing deals in your market.
  • Don’t just think rates: As a buyer, of course you want the best rate possible. But in a competitive market, you need to think just as much about the lender’s ability to close the deal. A slightly lower rate won’t make much of a difference if you can’t win your bid.
  • Ask about closing times: Ask your lender about their average closing times, especially in your market. Inquire as to whether they have any closing guarantees. Many lenders are offering them now to appeal to consumers in competitive markets.
  • Get a local appraiser: Ask your lender if they use local appraisers. It’s a good idea to work with a local appraiser who knows the area, including the ins and outs of each neighborhood. A local appraiser understands the difference in home values from one block to the next. This specialized knowledge really comes in handy, especially when you’re in a market where properties routinely sell for more than asking price.
  • Find a lender that understands your local market: Finally, ask your lender about their presence in your local market. They should have a solid understanding of the different neighborhoods, and have a strong record of winning bids amongst competition.

Header Image Source: (Adolfo Félix/ Unsplash)