As we head into the busy season, we’re expecting this summer to be incredibly competitive in the Austin real estate market. Last year it was not uncommon to see multiple offers or homes sell for over list price in hours. With this amount of competition for desirable homes, Austin home buyers need to be strategic to land their dream home. Having worked in multiple hot real estate markets, we’ve seen what sets successful buyers apart from the ones who end up frustrated. Here are our top 5 strategies for buying a home in Austin during a HOT real estate market.
Get A Written Pre-Approval Before You Start
We can’t stress the importance of this step and if you’ve read any of our posts about selling your home, you know this is one of the first questions we advise our sellers to ask. A genuine, written pre-approval (not a pre-qualification) essentially states that your loan is approved and only subject to an appraisal or a preliminary title report. This tells the seller that you are financially approved for your transaction and shows them that you are serious about purchasing a home.
If you’re just starting your home search process, you can start working on this step right away. Obtain a copy of your credit report. Start by correcting any errors and doing whatever you can to improve your FICO score.
Sellers are generally looking for the same thing: to sell their home for the most money, in the shortest time with the least hassle. Our next 3 strategies hit at each of these points.
Come with Your Best and Final Offer
Sellers, looking for the most lucrative offer they can get and when entertaining multiple offers, are likely to only engage with the best ones. This isn’t the time to lowball or ask for lots of extras like refrigerators and washer/dryers. We recommend our buyers come with their best and final offer in a true seller’s market. Whether that’s above asking with a large down payment or not, you want to give yourself the best chance for your offer to be at the top of the pile. There’s nothing worse than lowballing your initial offer only to find that the winning offer came in well below your max.
As always, make sure that you protect yourself and review all seller disclosures, if possible, before making your offer. This ensures you are accounting for all known defects.
Sellers concerned about a quick timeline are usually not patient people. So if you draft an offer so complex it takes multiple reads to understand, don’t be surprised if it’s vastly ignored. Draft an offer that’s simple, concise and complete. Make sure all the blanks and boxes are filled in and keep your time period for contingencies as short as possible. This helps with two things. First, it keeps the amount of back and forth (and frustration) to a minimum. With a simple, complete offer, there are generally few misunderstandings. Second, it again demonstrates that you’re serious about purchasing a home vs. throwing something into the mix to see if you get lucky.
The best way to make sure this happens is to hire an agent who is an expert in real estate contracts. We recommend looking for a home buyer’s agent who has both professional designations (ex. CRS, ABR, etc.) and substantial experience in the Austin real estate market. Let our team show you the difference this combination makes.
Be Accommodating with Their Move Out
Sometimes we get so caught up in the dollars that we forget what a hassle it is to move. Sellers are just like the rest of us and have lives with previous commitments. Helping them with the hassle of moving is where we recommend our clients try to gain some leverage. Be as flexible as possible with closing and move out dates and let them create a deal that makes their move as seamless as possible. It costs you little, but depending on their restrictions, can mean a lot to them in the deal.
Use Emotions to Your Advantage
While we constantly preach to leave emotions out of a real estate transaction, it happens. Both sellers and buyers get swayed – even when they know they shouldn’t. So why not use this to your advantage?
We recommend writing a personal letter to the seller outlining why you love their home. Include photos of your children, pets and family get-togethers and show them *who* will be enjoying their space. Often times, this can make the difference between two offers that are virtually identical. If a seller can visualize their home (which many of them have worked hard on) being cherished for years to come, it can make them more comfortable with the sale.
Thinking of Buying a Home in Austin?
Choose a Realtor who is knowledgeable about the Austin real estate market and can help you with even more strategies to land your Austin dream home. Our team of Austin Realtors specialize in representing buyers and have for the past 35+ years. Check out our Austin Home Buyers page to learn more about who we are and how we’re different. Then, call us at (512) 827-8323 or email us at info@11OaksRealty.com to schedule a no obligation conversation.
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