Buyer vs. Buyer

Tips for competing in a seller’s market

If you’ve ever gone shopping the day after Thanksgiving (aka Black Friday), you probably came up with a high-level game plan before braving the crowds. Sure, you could have winged it hoping to score a 72-inch flat-screen by pure luck, but why risk it? When you’re up against thousands of other shoppers who know what they want and how they plan to get it, having a strategy is key to walking away with the ultimate prize.

Though the madness of the holiday season is several months away, those hoping to buy a home in the coming months will have to get in the mindset of a serious shopper to come out on top. The inventory of available homes for sale is low in several areas of the country, making it tougher than usual for buyers to lock in their top choice without some heated competition.

As you start crafting your home-buying strategy, check out our tips below for competing in a seller’s market.

Be clear about what you want. In a competitive real estate market, buyers have to be ready to act quickly. Knowing exactly what you want and where you want to live before you start looking will make it easier to choose when the time comes.

Work with a good agent. An experienced buyer’s agent who often works in the neighborhoods where you’re looking will be able to help you find homes in your price range. Bonus: Using an agent is free for buyers – the seller pays the real estate commission.

Get pre-approved for a mortgage. Understanding your limits before you start looking for a home will help focus your search and prevent you from looking at houses you can’t afford. Having a preapproval letter also makes your offer much stronger in the eyes of a seller.

Find a way to sweeten your offer. When you find yourself in a bidding war for your dream home, there are things you can do to improve the deal from the seller’s perspective. Being able to close quickly or even put more money down can give you a competitive edge against other buyers.

Don’t settle for a house you don’t love. In a competitive real estate market you’ll have to be flexible and make compromises on some of the features you want, but that doesn’t mean you should settle. If you don’t find the right property immediately, there’s nothing wrong with renting and keeping an eye out for your dream home in the meantime.

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Kate Kasbee
Kate Kasbee is a blogger and freelance copywriter living in Los Angeles. She has a background in real estate marketing and has also written about a variety of subjects including pet care, how to adopt a vegan diet, and technology. Prior to living in sunny California, Kate spent eight years in Chicago where she lived in nine different apartments in five different neighborhoods. Though she’s not quite done exploring, Kate dreams of planting her roots and owning a home with creaky floors and plenty of land for starting an organic farm.
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