So, you’ve found a home you love. It checks off your “must-have” criteria, and promises lots of the extras on your wishlist. It boasts your favorite style of architecture, is in a neighborhood you love, and has the kitchen you’ve been dreaming about.
Now it’s time to strategize to make sure your dream home becomes your next abode. Here are four things to do when you find a home you love:
1. Request a showing
We live in a digital world and are accustomed to shopping on the internet. So it’s no surprise that almost half of home buyers start their home search online, according to a report from the National Association of Realtors.
Still, 88% of buyers work with a real estate agent. If you’re browsing online and spot a home for sale that you fall in love with, it’s a good idea to reach out to the real estate agent you want to work with, and request a showing of the home ASAP.
While online listings have come a long way with high-quality photography and even video tours, actually stepping into the home is the best way to confirm it’s the right fit for you and your family.
You’ll get a better sense of things like the home’s layout, what the neighborhood is like, how much natural light flows in and how much room you’ll have to move around the kitchen.
2. Learn what you can about the home
Buying a home can certainly be an emotional process. Not only will it be one of the biggest purchases you’ll make, it’s also where you’ll be starting the next chapter of your life.
If you find a home you love, be sure to step back and ask some practical questions. For example: is the home priced fairly or are there clever staging tricks driving up the list price?
Ask what’s included in HOA dues. This will give you a sense of what kind of amenities and services come with the home. And knowing the last time appliances or roofing were replaced will inform you as to whether you’ll need to budget for any replacements in the near future.
(For a handy list of must-ask home tour questions, check out our recent blog post!)
3. Position yourself as a strong and serious buyer
There’s no sugar-coating it. In competitive markets, homes get snapped up quickly and you’ll likely be competing with cash buyers.
Your best strategy is to position yourself as a strong buyer who’s serious about getting to the closing table. Start preparing for a competitive market before you even begin your home search. That way, when you find a home you love, you’ll be ready and able to make a confident offer.
Consider an upfront underwrite
So how do you increase your buying power? One way is to go beyond the typical pre-approval process and get fully underwritten upfront.
By getting the underwriting out of the way, you’ll know exactly how much home you can afford. Plus, the seller will be more confident that you’ll close since your financials have already been vetted. This gives you a huge leg up over most lenders’ pre-approvals, which are based on incomplete financial information.
Getting underwritten upfront removes a lot of uncertainty, and helps even the playing field, allowing you to compete with cash buyers.
4. Make a strong offer
Your real estate agent will have access to data to help you strengthen your offer. They can help you understand how much similar homes are selling for, and help you to craft your bid accordingly.
If you love the home, it’s best to take your real estate agent’s advice rather than coming in low on your bid.
Another way you can strengthen your offer is by writing a buyer’s letter, explaining what you love about the property. The personal touch might help you stand out among other buyers with similar financials.
Some other strategies that might win over the seller? Meet or exceed the seller’s earnest money requirement. Or agree to be flexible with the seller’s timeline for getting to the closing table, even if that means removing some contingencies.
Header Image Source: (Sven Brandsma/ Unsplash)