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It's Becoming a Seller's Market, but Home Buyer's Can Still Win Big

By: Mike Thomas

As the heat of summer dissipates into the freezing cold of winter, the real estate market swings from a buyer's market to a seller's market. Don't give up the house hunt yet. There are still ways to save big when buying a house this winter. Just follow these tips for success when buying a home in a seller's market.

Get Pre-Qualified

When offers are coming in hot and heavy, sellers give priority to those with cash in hand. Don't wait until you find the perfect house to run to the bank. Get a pre-qualification that can be used during negotiations. Sellers are more likely to counter an offer if the bank is already on board.

No Strings Attached

Get your affairs in order before entering a seller's market. Home sellers aren't always looking for the best price. Often they're ready to move on with their life too. Making a sale contingent on selling another property or making an offer with strings attached will scare away all but the most blasé sellers. Sell properties and move money to facilitate the purchase of a new home before making an offer.

Shorten the Timeline

Contingencies are dangerous for sellers. Getting involved in a possible sale only to have it fall apart a month or two down the line costs time and money. When making an offer, shorten the contingency period for the loan, inspection, and appraisal. Very motivated buyers can bypass it altogether. A pre-approval by the bank can decrease the loan contingency period but getting a quality inspector and appraiser on retainer will further speed up the process, enticing the seller to accept your bid.

Know the Neighborhood

Information can save you thousands. Before making an offer, get to know the neighborhood. Look for recent, comparable sales and bring them up during negotiation. Being informed during the negotiation process will assure sellers that you're serious about living in the neighborhood and that you're well-informed of a fair price.

Make Reasonable Requests

Maybe it's the prevalence of home buying shows or the desired perfection in today's society, but many home buyer's have unreasonable demands when buying a house. Unless it's imperative to house function, it shouldn't be negotiated into the final contract. Basic tasks like painting or light repairs can be accomplished within hours of closing. Don't hold up a sale by asking for perfection.

Ask for Closing Costs

Closing costs are an easy way for buyers to save thousands of dollars. While closing costs are taken out of the seller's final sale price, the buyer is often required to pay it out of pocket. With the significant costs associated with moving into a new home, buyers can save money by asking sellers to pay for the final closing costs. An experienced realtor can tell you whether closing costs are traditionally paid by the seller in the market you're interested in.

Be Fair

The point of buying isn't to score a major deal. If it is, look into a foreclosure. If you're looking for a place to call home, make a fair offer. Research comparable properties, assess your budget, and make an offer that balances the fair price with your preferred price. Lowball offers can lose the house altogether.

Work With the Best

Anyone can write up the paperwork for a home sale. A great realtor understands the area, can negotiate tenaciously, and can lead you to your perfect home. Ask friends and family for suggestions, look for the reviews on the Internet, and never sign a realtor agreement until you are 100% comfortable with your choice of realtor. A good realtor will earn his commission ten times over by giving you insider information on the home you're buying and the area you're moving into.

It may be a seller's market but that doesn't mean you should prepare to pay too much. By arriving at your dream home prepared, you can score a great deal in a fantastic neighborhood. Find a quality realtor, get approved for a loan by your bank, be reasonable with your requests, and get ready to find your dream home.

  

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