In a fierce sales market, it’s easy to be sidelined to the point of losing your dream home.
Especially when it comes to bidding for it.
It only takes a few Saturdays of open inspections, or being a fly on the wall at a high-pressure auction, to realise just how tough it can be to crack a seller’s market – that is, being surrounded by flocks of other eager buyers, all of whom are standing between you and that perfect home.
So how do you get your shot at owning it?
By making the highest offer, you’re probably thinking. But it’s not quite that simple; and those who’ve been in ‘the game’ long enough would have discovered this already.
The heartbreak of losing a home to another buyer can typically be avoided with three key strategies – preparation, availability, and flexibility.
It’s no secret that the early bird catches the worm… and in real estate, the early bird knows their finance, is pre-approved for their mortgage, and comes readily equipped to an open with their pre-approval letter in hand.
The reality is, preparing to buy a home should occur before you start accumulating favourites on realestate.com or attending weekend opens. The first step is to identify what you can borrow; after all, you can’t really know if a property is within – or beyond – your budget, without having a budget to begin with.
Consult with a reliable mortgage broker or your bank, who can inform you of your borrowing requirements and finance options. This typically occurs through confirming your income, spending and other details, from which they can provide you with a loan estimate amount – or ‘pre-approval’, in a formal document.
It’s this document that will be your greatest weapon throughout the rest of the process, as it tells the agent (and seller) that you’re not only serious about buying the property, but can negotiate with financial certainty.
Home seekers without pre-approval can fall into the trap of placing an offer without first knowing if they can borrow the required amount – and in unfortunate instances, may have to withdraw their offer due to a lack of financing.
This step is often overlooked by home seekers. How much do you seriously want this home? Agents can typically deduce how keen a buyer is from their first point of contact; so if you’re late to the open (or skip it altogether), don’t ask any questions, don’t engage in follow-up calls or offer to leave your information, it’s likely that they’ll gauge you as uninterested. Of course, this may not be your intention at all – and could simply be that you’ve been to four other opens that day, and ‘buyer fatigue’ has started to set in.
On the other hand, buyers who are first in line, ask the agent questions and are forward by contacting them about the property after the auction, are almost certain to be the most memorable – a serious buyer in the eyes of the agent, and the first person they’ll call when it comes to closing the sale.
For buyers who have been on the property lookout for some time, have made a few offers but still haven’t been able to seal the deal, you may have to ask: how flexible am I being? Flexibility is the final key to buying a property – and can favour one buyer over another, even if they’ve made a similar offer (and are backed by the same budget).
If you’re serious about securing the property, be prepared to ask yourself:
Do I have a back-up offer?
Am I prepared to accept a longer or shorter settlement?
Would I be okay with waiving the cooling off period?
If you’re on a tighter budget, it’s often these final contingencies that can get your offer over the line. Just as you qualify a home to buy, a seller will be qualifying their ‘perfect’ buyer, too – and this may come down to how much you love their home, how it will be used, if you have any purchasing conditions or other restrictions, and many other factors that are taken into consideration with your offer amount.
It’s these three hacks that can be the difference between winning a home or narrowly missing out. In every case, always communicate your interest to the agent – you’re guaranteed to be top of their list when the next comes on the market!
Prudential Real Estate Campbelltown | (02) 4628 0033 | firstname.lastname@example.org
Prudential Real Estate Liverpool | (02) 9822 5999 | email@example.com
Prudential Real Estate Macquarie Fields | (02) 9605 5333 | firstname.lastname@example.org
Prudential Real Estate Narellan | (02) 4624 4400 | email@example.com