If we know one thing in real estate it’s that the market is always evolving.
2013 has ushered in a seller’s market. Properties are selling quickly and many times at higher prices than listed. While home values rebounding is a good thing for the health of the market, the harsh reality is that it can be very hard to actually buy a home in the affordable price ranges. A good offer will get out bid or a seller will accept all cash from an investor, or worse yet, the deal with fall through during escrow because the lender couldn’t perform or the appraisal came in low.
It’s a great time to buy, that’s for certain, but having the means and actually pulling it off are two different things. The more desirable the property the more offers it will get.
Here are 5 Keys to increase the chances of getting your offer accepted and closing on the home.
1. Find a top notch mortgage professional before you start making offers: This is critical for two reasons, first you need to know your ability to qualify, your options and that the lender can perform and close the loan. Most sellers won’t accept an offer without a legitimate pre-approval letter. Secondly, the seller or listing agent is going to look very closely at the pre-approval, and probably will call your loan officer. A top notch mortgage professional can guide you through this process, as well as instill confidence in the seller that they can close and close on time.
2. Getting a strong pre-approval can save you frustration and heartache down the line. This means submitting a full application and complete income/asset document for review. It’s also common now for the seller to require a buyer to get quickly pre-approved with their lender to make sure the financing is there. Being already pre-approved makes this 2nd pre-approval much faster and easier, giving you a better chance that your offer will be selected by the seller. The seller can shy away from your offer if they have any doubts about your ability to qualify or your mortgage broker/lender.
3. Make the offer non-contingent: The biggest thing that can deter a seller from accepting your offer is a contingency that says you need to sell your current home to qualify for the loan needed to purchase the new home. Sellers know this is a huge variable and can delay the closing or worse jeopardize the entire transaction.
4. Be flexible on terms such as closing quickly and renting back: For sellers, timing is always a big factor and some want to close as quickly as possible. And of course the listing agent always does too. Being able to close quickly shows you are prepared and that your financing is in place. In addition, closing the sale and moving out are two different things that don’t always go hand in hand. Many sellers like to sell their home and then not move out for a month or two later, which means the new buyer would rent back the property to the seller for a period of time.
5. Have plenty of cash reserves: It is always a good idea to have ample cash reserves, but here is a new phenomena. Appraisals are often coming in below the contract sales price. This is because home values have gone up so quickly that the appraisers don’t have comparables to justify the new sales price. This doesn’t mean the home is worth less, it just means the market is moving faster than the appraisers can justify. When an appraisal comes in below the sales price, the lender will adjust the terms of the loan based on the appraisal, which creates the need for the buyer to increase their down payment. Listing agents are very aware of this and are now advising sellers to put in the contract provisions protecting the sales price should the appraisal come in low.
Bottom Line: Being prepared (pre-approved), flexible, and working with a top notch mortgage professional will give you the best chance to succeed in today’s seller’s market.
Need a pre-approval or more information? I am here to help!