As you are probably aware, there is so much more to buying a home than deciding to buy a home; in a hot Seller’s Market like we are experiencing here in Denver, there simply aren’t enough homes to match the demand, and savvy, educated Buyers (with savvy Realtors who’ve got their back) are the ones winning the deals with so few properties to go around.
Buying your first home, next home, investment property, vacation home – all of these purchases can be exhilarating, and in this market snapping up the right home can be challenging, frustrating and, if you lose out to another bidder on a house you just love, even heartbreaking.
Consider these tips the cliff notes on being a Street Smart Buyer in Metro Denver – then call me to find out how I can help you snag a great Denver area property amidst the competition.
- Get pre-approved for financing. Not prequalified. Prequalification is a jaunty layout of the details of your potential to borrow, but it is not the bank’s seal of approval on a future loan. Sellers in the know (and their Realtor), will choose a pre-approved Buyer over a “prequalified” Buyer 9 times out of 10. If you really want to buy a house, really get approved for financing.
- Try to find out why the Seller is selling the property. Moving cross country? Can’t afford the payment? Upsizing to a dream home or downsizing now that the nest is empty? You probably won’t be able to ferret out the reason for the sale yourself, but your trusty Realtor may. And knowing how emotionally tied to the sale a Seller is can make a difference in your offer strategy. If Chuck and Suzy raised the kids and the family dog in this house, you may want to write a personal letter sharing your family’s interest in the home, and painting a picture of your plans to love their home long term. This kind of information can give you a warm-and-fuzzy edge over a less personal buying approach.
- Be flexible. We’re talking about a smokin’ hot market in Denver right now, but this tip extends to any Real Estate market. When you can offer grace – do it. If the Seller asks you to move up an Inspection date, or to clarify details of financing, do it without a fuss. If they aren’t willing to include the custom window treatments you just love in the dining room – you’ll have to wave goodbye to that fabric and make other plans. Sellers have the edge in this market, and you don’t want to risk losing the deal over curtains, dates or other such details.
- Add a little honey to the pot. If the Current Market Analysis (CMA) supports the asking price of the house, consider offering above asking price – even by a few hundred dollars. This sends a message to the Seller that your offer is serious and you’ve come to play. Discuss strategy with your Realtor and buying partner(s) before you end up in a bidding war, but don’t be surprised if offering above asking is an option your Realtor recommends. If the house you have your eye on is dreamy at $365k, chances are it will be just as attractive at, say, $368. No the value of the house, know your ceiling, and don’t be afraid to offer above asking within your limits.
- Don’t be a cheapskate. While you may not be the type of Buyer willing to throw a little extra cash above asking into the ring, you definitely don’t want to fall too far on the other end of the spectrum. This is not the market for lowball offers, and Sellers will not take your offer seriously if it is not within a realistic range. There are deals to be had in this market, but insultingly low offers are not the way to get them.
- Slow and steady won’t win this race! Technology has quickened the pace of our personal lives and our business lives, and Real Estate is no exception. Real Estate transactions move quickly, especially in a hot market, and if you’ve done your homework, been pre-approved for financing, and you’ve settled on a community or neighborhood you like, be prepared to make a reasonable offer on a home and move forward. Your home is likely to be the biggest purchase you’ll ever make, and you don’t want to feel rushed, but this is not the time to ponder. Think it all over before you start your house hunt – then be ready to pounce.
- Serve the Seller as you would an honored guest. Sound crazy? In this market, Seller’s wear the crown – and Buyers are the wandering serfs looking for a place to crash. Work with your Realtor to ensure all deadlines are met, be courteous, helpful and complimentary (and genuine!) at every turn, and ensure that the Seller is pleased to negotiate and work with you. After all – if your offer falls through, they probably already have backup offers in place. Make the Seller want YOU to be the new owner of this house. And talk to your Realtor about how you can help make that happen.
Ready to make a move and not sure where to start? Do you know a friend who is thinking about relocating to sunny Colorado who could use some expert advice? I have the experience and know-how to help you land a fair deal in this hyper-paced market. Pick up the phone or drop me a line.