How to Buy a Home in a Fast-Moving Market

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Buying a home can be challenging. When you’re looking for one in a fast-moving market, however, things get even more difficult. This article offers some useful tips for homebuyers that need to act quickly.

The housing market is moving fast in many areas of the country. Homes in San Jose and San Francisco last an average of 18 days on the market, while Boston apartments are sold a median of two weeks faster compared to 2013.

When buying a home, it’s smart to shop around and take the time to carefully weigh your options. However, this isn’t always a possibility. The housing market is moving fast and certain apartments or houses spend only a few days on the market. When the demand for homes is high, moving quickly becomes necessary; it can make the difference between getting the house you want and losing it in favor of a speedier buyer.

We’re not suggesting you rush into a decision. You still need to inspect the property thoroughly and make take the time to ensure it’s the best fit for you. Nonetheless, if you get your financial house in order in time and find a reliable real estate agent to guide you through the process, you can successfully increase your chances of making a competitive offer on the home of your dreams. Here are some tips that will help.

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Get your finances in order #

Assuming you have the necessary income, the key to getting the house you want is to use every resource available. Start by getting your financial house in order. If you need a mortgage, shop around until you find the best offer available. Research the best options, and be mindful that every time you apply for a loan, your credit score suffers. In order to avoid this situation, make all your inquiries in a two-week window. This way, they will count as one.

Get a pre-approved for a loan before starting to search for your dream home. Keep in mind that pre-approved isn’t the same as pre-qualified. Pre-qualification is usually an informal agreement from a lender that establishes the rough parameters for a future mortgage. Pre-qualification can be done over the phone or on the internet, and there is usually no cost involved. Pre-approval, on the other hand, is a more rigorous process: you complete an official mortgage application, pay a fee, and supply the lender with all of the financial documents they ask for.

The lender then reviews your credit history and will be able to tell you the specific mortgage amount for which you are approved. Consequently, you will receive a conditional commitment in writing for an exact loan amount, which will enable you to look for a home. You don’t risk falling in love with a home only to realize later that it’s out of your price range. This is an advantage for the seller as well; they understand you’re one step closer to obtaining an actual mortgage, and that you are serious about your intention of buying.

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Hire a good realtor #

Hiring a realtor in order to save a few bucks isn’t an option in a fast-moving housing market. Realtors may have access to new listings before they become public knowledge, giving you an advantage over other potential buyers. They can quickly alert you when a new home becomes available, ensuring that you avoid repeated frustration from coming too late to bid on a house.
Real estate agents have the experience to recommend certain neighborhoods, provide details about other sales in your target market, and act as a buffer between you and the seller.

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Make a good offer #

Do your research before making an offer for a home. Determine how fast homes are selling in your target market and for how much above the asking price. You may be overwhelmed by the mass of buyers at open houses and the high bids offered almost instantly. If the offers are in your price limit, you will know approximately how much to offer for a similar home. If not, maybe it’s time to look for a home in another town or neighborhood.

Furthermore, when you find a place priced fairly, don’t lose time by trying to “low-ball” an offer. While this advice depends on several factors (market demand, seller motivation, etc.), it’s usually better to submit an offer for the full asking price rather than risk losing out to more motivated buyers. Looking for additional tips? Consider writing a letter that includes flattering things about the seller’s home. If the seller will receives similar bids, he or she may decide to go with someone they like. Also, you should have cash handy for a quick deposit. You can make a more powerful first impression and assure the seller of your determination.

Additionally, even in fast-moving housing markets, skipping the home inspection is never a good idea. Have a home inspector lined up before making an offer – this way, they will show up right away and make sure that you’re making an offer on a top-notch home.

Learn to look beyond the ad #

Never underestimate a home based on what may simply be unflattering photos in the ad. Make it a point to visit as many open houses as possible, even when the first impression isn’t a very positive one. Perhaps you will uncover an unpolished diamond. Additionally, decide what your “must-haves” items are that you can quickly check off while touring homes. If these are missing, you will save yourself precious time.

Buying a home in a fast-moving housing market can be frustrating. However, when you do your research, have a reliable real estate agent, and get your finances in order beforehand, your chances of buying the perfect home are higher. Be patient and don’t get discouraged when the house-buying system fails you. After all, as Og Mandino once wrote, “You never know what events are going to transpire to get you home.”


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