Tips for Buyers in a Seller's Market

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1. Get Pre-approved Have copies of pre-approval letter, especially to provide to fsbo sellers.  Pay attention to mortgage interest rates, as the amount you are pre-approved for will be affected by this.


2. Expand Your Search. Research desirable areas, affordable tax regions, desirable aspects (schools, commute locations, etc.). With low inventory, it will help to broaden your search area.


3. Post a 'Searching For' Ad on Local Listing Sites (Picket Fence Preview, craigslist, facebook, local newspapers, etc.) Be specific about what you're looking for to better attract the attention of the right property owner, especially if they have yet to put their property on the market. Keep in mind that you may have to offer above market value to entice them to sell.


4. Reach Out to FSBO Sellers. Contact them directly on craigslist, facebook, PFP, etc. Speak fondly of the home and communicate your interest - ask for more info / a showing asap. Buyers representing themselves will be more desirable for fsbo sellers (you wont be viewed as a costly buyer with an attached realtor commission).


5. Write Love Letters - Be Personal. This is a tactic used by agents, but it is much better received when its genuine from the buyers themselves. Send letters and/or messages to homes on and off market. Talk about your family, reason you want this home / neighborhood, incentive, timeline, etc. Offer to pay fair market value and flexibility (especially if home is not actively listed for sale).


6. Put More Earnest Money Down. This gives the seller confidence in the buyers commitment. The higher the earnest payment down, the more desirable and 'sure thing' your offer will appear to the sellers. The buyer is not at risk to forfeit the earnest money for appraisal or inspection issues during the sale.


7. No Lowball Offers! In this market, you'll just be wasting your time.


8. Make Concessions to beat out your competition. Customize your offer for each seller's needs. Is your timeline flexible? Offer a rentback provision if the seller would prefer a later move-out date. Paying cash? You might want to forgo having an appraisal done. If the property is unique with few comparables or if you're unconcerned with current market value, this is a strong tactic in a fast-moving market. Appraisal waives can be risky, but if you're all-cash or putting down a higher deposit, you can waive the appraisal (dependent upon mortgage needs).


9. Sell First Before You Buy. if you are in a sell and buy situation, strategize how to sell first. This allows you time and flexibility to provide a non contingent, all/mostly cash offer for the property you buy. Remember, you can always negotiate to 'rent back' your home from the new buyers while you search for suitable housing.


10. Be Patient. This process can be frustrating, but don't lose hope! Stay vigilant and active. It only takes one!


11. Be Ready and Available.  This one's tough, especially for working families - but in this market, homes move quickly. If a new home comes on the market, get in for a showing ASAP!