Many Boston area home buying tips have more to do with the house you’re considering buying than the buyers themselves. Home buying tips vary from what to look for when you inspect a home to ideas on how to remodel a room to better meet your family’s needs.
In this article, the home buying tips involve you, the prospective home buyer, and how you can make yourself more attractive to a seller. Let’s take a look at areas in which you can excel by positioning yourself at the top of the seller’s list.
Boston Area Home Buying: Make ’em Love You
If you’ve started house hunting already, you know it’s a competitive market. Because housing inventory is still relatively tight and home prices are rising throughout the U.S., the basic law of supply and demand has created a seller’s market. According to recently released statistics there’s a 4.7-month supply of homes for sale nationwide. That means it would take nearly five months for all the current homes for sale on the market to sell, based on a certain monthly sales volume. A normal, balanced market has a 6-month supply of homes. In today’s market, a prospective home buyer like you needs an advantage to make you memorable – and separate you from other buyers competing for similar houses. Consider these steps to be better prepared:
Boston Area Home Buying Tips: Be Financially Prepared
Given the choice, home sellers almost always prefer to work with a buyer who can pay cash. Naturally, a buyer who doesn’t need to rely on a mortgage is an attractive commodity to a seller who doesn’t have to worry about the sale falling through due to financing issues. Interestingly, during the first quarter of 2016 all-cash buyers comprised about a third of all sales. But let’s be realistic, most buyers can’t pay cash and will still need mortgage financing. Meet with your lender in advance and get a pre-approval letter to show you can get the necessary financing for a certain amount or price range. The lender will pre-approve you – including a credit check and income verification process – prior to your home search. The pre-approval or pre-qualification process does two things: Not only will it give you a competitive advantage, but it will let you know whether your home purchase budget is realistic.
Boston Area Home Buying Tips: Be Aggressive
Normally, when buyers begin they are in the research phase of their home buying search. They may spend hours looking at online listings or attend a number of open houses. In a seller’s market, you need to be more aggressive, more ready to make decisions and move fast to get the house you want. A seller’s market means attractively priced homes get offers quickly. So, one of the most important Boston area home buying tips is if you’re interested in a specific home, don’t wait too long to make an offer – otherwise an opportunity may be missed. Most real estate experts suggest if you find a home you really like and think is priced fairly, make an offer as close to the asking price as possible. As one real estate agent said, “In a seller’s market, make your first offer an aggressive one… you might not get another shot.” Consider this, too: If you’re buying the home with mortgage financing, putting down a larger earnest money deposit can often give the sellers a better feeling that you’re not only in good shape financially, but that you’re serious about purchasing their home.
Boston Area Home Buying Tips: Eliminate Contingencies
In today’s market, the more contingencies a sale has the less attractive it is for sellers to accept the offer. Simply put, they don’t need to… there are plenty of other prospects in the Boston area home buying arena. For example, a seller is more likely to reject an offer that’s contingent on the sale of an existing property. While that’s not unusual in most real estate transactions, in a seller’s market – and with a third of the purchasers paying cash – it may be enough for a seller to reject the offer and take his chances on a buyer ready to move quickly.
However, remember that not all contingencies are bad. Some are still needed even if it slows down the closing process. Keep home inspection contingencies in place for your protection. They may prevent you from making a costly mistake. If the home inspection is an issue, consider arranging for one before you make an offer.
Boston Area Home Buying Tips: Be Flexible
Often home buyers can’t or don’t want to compete by getting into bidding wars and increasing their offers. You can separate yourself from the rest of the home buying pack by being easy to work with, flexible and responsive in the negotiation process. That brings us to another valuable Boston area home buying tip: If you make an offer and there’s a deadline attached to it, be accessible. The pace can quicken and most sellers want a fast answer – one way or the other. A lack of response, or a slow response communicates ambivalence or non-interest to the seller and they will likely move on to another buyer with a similar offer.
Sellers who may want to close the sale quickly, but lease the home back for a short time after the closing have a unique need. Being open and easy to work with in a situation such as that will make your offer more attractive and valuable to them because it better fits their needs.
Boston Area Home Buying Tips: Write a Letter
Some sellers are emotionally attached to their homes – especially if they’ve lived there for a long time and raised their children in the home. Those sellers are likely the ones that will want to make sure “their home” will be in good hands when they sell. As a buyer, you can appeal to that emotional connection by writing a letter to the sellers explaining why you and your family feel their home will be a perfect fit. Send the letter along with your offer – preferably by email – nobody trusts snail mail these days. Try to make a personal connection with the seller. Of course, if another interested party in the Boston area home buying market makes a higher offer, the letter may not do any good… but it can’t hurt!
Read more about home buying in the section of articles on Boston area home buying tips just below Boston Real Estate Categories in the column to your right. Remember, we also post tips daily on Facebook and Twitter. Check us out there, too.