A seller’s market meant that current inventory is less than the number of buyers in the real estate market. For buyers, that means more than one person may be interested in a single listing. Unfortunately, this means your buyers may end up heart broken. Someone may out bid them and if they have already fallen in love with the home it will be even harder. It’s important to prepare your clients for reality versus expectations as they begin their hunt for the home of their dreams- or as close to their dreams as possible.
In a sellers’ market a buyer must change their home buying strategy to have success when many homes will have multiple offers. Time is of the essence. Multiple offers happen with more regularity in a sellers' market than a buyer's market. That's because by its very nature a seller's market is defined in part by low inventory and lots of home buyers. A beautiful home that is priced well can attract more than one offer. Remember, your client might not be the only buyer.
Preparing the Home Buying Offer in a Seller's Market
- Price. Price is not always the most important factor. But do not offer less than list price. Realize you may need to offer more than the amount the seller is asking.
- Earnest Money Deposit. A larger earnest money deposit might look very attractive to a seller. Your client is going to pay it anyway at closing.
- Don't Request Favors. This is not the time to ask the seller to give you the refrigerator or washer and dryer, or part with fixtures, or paint the front door.
- Delay Buyer Possession. If it is customary for the seller to move at closing, give the seller a few extra days to move. Another buyer probably won't think of this maneuver, and the seller will look more kindly upon an offer that lets them move at leisure.
- Submit Preapproval and Proof of Funds Documentation. If your preapproval letter is from an out-of-area broker or lender, get a local preapproval instead. Mortgage pre-approval goes further than prequalification because you submit all the required paperwork up front. The bank then verifies the amount you can afford to pay for your next home. It takes the guesswork out of your home search and shows sellers you can back your offer up with real money.
Be Upfront About All Expenses
In the world of real estate, referrals and repeat business drive an agent’s success over time. Make an effort to present a clear picture of all the expenses a home buyer has after purchasing a home. Go over how much property taxes and mortgage insurance are and how they’re added into the overall payment. Explain the average utilities on that home and the cost of maintenance. Having this information presented clearly allows buyers to choose a house they can truly afford, even when all the little extras are added in.
Don’t Let Impatience Wreck Their Budget
Patience can be hard to come by when you feel pressure to beat buyers to the punch. But try not to get so carried away you forget the financial goals you’re working toward. Remember, it is recommended keeping your clients mortgage payment to no more than 25% of their monthly take-home pay on a 15-year fixed-rate mortgage.
Stress the Value of Improvements
While a turnkey home is attractive to homebuyers because they can move in and not worry about doing a single thing, it isn’t always realistic for buyers on a budget. If their budget doesn’t align with their wants and needs, stress the value of buying lower and making some improvements on their own. Buyers can expect a 70 percent return on investment from improvements to the exterior of the home, such as new siding. This not only gives them something to take pride in but can also help them financially down the road.
Jump on That Seller's Market Showing
Don't let your buyer wait until the weekend to view a home in a seller's market. By the weekend, that home could be sold. Try to be one of the first showings. Sellers usually don't enjoy having buyers come through their homes at all hours of the day, so most would like to see their home sold quickly. If you write a good offer, a fast offer and a clean offer, your client’s chances of acceptance are far better than those of a buyer who is unprepared.
It’s hard to leave emotions out of the home-buying process. After all, your clients purchase a place where they’ll live out their days, raise families and have gatherings of friends and those they love. It’s an emotional decision in many ways. However, if your buyers approach purchasing a home from the emotional side of things, they won’t be as likely to make smart business decisions. Do your best to guide them toward smart choices that will protect them financially, but at the end of the day, remember that you also must deliver a house they’ll love. When you balance those two competing needs, you’ll win both as a real estate agent and as a person.