With the real estate market experiencing surging prices, scant inventories, and a backlog of new home construction, here are some tips for homebuyers facing a crazy housing market.
Buy the Ugly House — Shiny new countertops or the P-Diddy-worthy backyard can make any homebuyer weak in the knees… but they shouldn’t be focusing on the surface stuff. Yes, everyone has their wish list, and generally the hot house on the block gets all the attention just like that cute blonde cheerleader in high school. But in reality, most people’s budgets aren’t quite rap mogul level. In real life expectations need to be a little more *ahem* modest — think the nerdy girl in the library so to speak.
Buyers may flock to that sexy house, but meanwhile, the same model home down the street with ugly cabinets has everything they actually need without the bidding war. So don’t overlook the “nerdy girl in the library” — she just may take her hair out of that bun, pull those glasses off and get those knees buckling… for a much lower price.
The smartest buyers are able to focus on the qualities of a property that are most important, with the realization that the cosmetic things (like those countertops and cabinets) can be changed over time. Take a step back and consider the location, the floorplan and the lot size as primary wish list items, as these are things impossible or very costly to change.
Get Prequalified — This should be done, like yesterday. In this market there is absolutely no time for potential buyers to find the home they like and then figure out if they can qualify for it. The most successful buyers are not only prequalified but also understand their loan options and buying power in terms of flexibility with price, ability to make up the difference with cash in the event of a low appraisal, and loan type. Having this figured out before falling in love with pictures on MLS will set homebuyers up for success.
Stay Ready — Gone are the days where a potential buyer could view a home on the MLS during the week and wait until the weekend to go see it. With the inventory shortage, homes are moving lightning fast. That means serious homebuyers need to move just as fast when they find a newly listed home they love.
It’s especially important in a high-demand market to be working with a Realtor who does real estate sales full time. Buyers can’t wait for their Realtor to call on a property or write a contract during their lunchbreak. It’s also essential for homebuyers to be as flexible as possible with availability to visit the property. They should wrap their mind around making offers based on videos or even sight unseen, and if possible, be prepared to make a same-day offer (as long the terms of the contract are completely understood before doing so).
Get Used to Hearing the Word ‘No’ — Homebuyers should know they’ll likely be making offers on several properties before they receive a ‘yes.’ This is a great thing because it will truly align homebuyers with the property that is meant to be their dream home for years to come.
Meanwhile, buyers should stay resilient and to keep at it. In many cases, clients are writing at least five offers before scoring a deal, depending on their price range. So do not get discouraged. In fact, stay encouraged — just like fishing, the more lines that are cast, the better chance of catching the big one!
Listen to the Realtor’s Advice — Finally, homebuyers should take the process of finding the right Realtor seriously — and once they do, trust their agent. Don’t skip this step because homebuyers, especially in this market, need a high-level agent with a lot of experience and expertise under their belt to win the deal. Even that beloved sister who got her license four years ago but who has only done three deals total probably isn’t the best person to help a homebuyer navigate this kind of market (no shade, just being honest).
Hire a full time professional and then heed their advice. Now is not the time to listen to unsolicited opinions from friends of friends that aren’t even in the industry who bought a home in 1987 and are now self-proclaimed experts. Just as someone wouldn’t ask an accountant to perform brain surgery, it’s best to leave real estate sales to the best in the business.
A Realtor in Arizona since 2017, Somone Wilder quickly achieved success and became one of the top-producing agents in Maricopa County. In addition to serving as branch manager of DeLex Realty’s new Biltmore area branch, set to open on May 1, Wilder runs two businesses, Wilder Residential and the Rogue Agent, which produces high-energy, effective mentoring workshops and events designed to help other real estate professionals increase their businesses’ productivity.