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Advice for Buying in a Seller’s Market

Changes in the seasons also bring along changes in the real estate market. Inventory may decline, thus bringing more aggressive buyers in their search for a new home. A recent article, by Liz Dominguez in RSMedia (Buying in a Seller’s Market: Who’s the Winner?), examines how real estate transactions are affected by seasonal changes.

She provides the following tips on how to be successful buying or selling a home when the market favors sellers.

  1. Time is Valuable – During peak purchasing months, buyers may not have as many options as at other times. This means there will be more competition since there are fewer homes available in a price range. If a three bedroom house is a must-have, don’t waste time looking at a two-bedroom home. Spending time just looking may result in a missed opportunity to find what is needed. Buyers must also be prepared to make an offer quickly. However, if the buyer has not been pre-approved, the seller will move on to the next prospective buyer. On the other side, sellers will have a much easier time, especially if their home is in excellent condition, since fewer homes are available.
  1. Offers are Aggressive – In a seller’s market, buyers may find themselves in a bidding war as there may be multiple offers for one property. It is imperative to bring the best offer, or they may lose out. Sellers may also request stronger terms. For example, if someone is willing to put down a larger down payment, or close in a shorter period of time, the seller may accept a lower offer. A combination of higher down payment and a reliable lender or higher purchase price may be the winning offer. However, an all-cash purchase will invariably trump all other offers.
  1. Negotiations are game changers – Buyers should be advised that in a seller’s market, they do not have the upper hand. The seller may decline to take care of major high-ticket items, like a new roof or a new dishwasher. Unless it is a safety-related issue or an obvious hazard, it should not be brought up. The seller may also decide to take certain items with them, such as a refrigerator or washing machine. The buyer with fewer demands is certain to be the winner in these times.
  2. Real Estate agents are essential – Although a seller’s market obviously favors one side above the other, buyers may lose out if they are not working with an experienced agent. Sellers on the other hand, may not be aware of their advantages if they do not use an agent. Agents will always advocate for their client no matter which side they are on. Things that may seem insignificant, such as timely paperwork, e-mails to opposite party, due diligence done prior to closing can make all the difference in the market.
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