You have probably read the headlines (and seen the Facebook & Twitter posts) so you already know that there are not a lot of homes for sale right now. At least not enough to keep up with current buyer demand. If you are considering selling your home, this is great news. If you want to buy a property right now, it is a little more troubling. Many buyers are currently getting a rude education through painful experience on how quickly the market can flip from a buyer's market to a seller's market. To ensure that you endure the least amount of pain possible, while successfully purchasing your new property in the current market, follow these 5 tips:

1.) Find the best buyer's agent for you. Notice I say for you. Interview more than one agent and find the one you feel most comfortable with. You want someone who knows the market where you will be buying, who will be honest with you and who has a good reputation among fellow agents. You also want an agent experienced in multiple offer situations and who will communicate with you in the method you prefer (text, email and/or phone). Lastly, they need to have a system in place to get you into new listings ASAP.

2.) Get a written pre-approval letter for the highest amount possible. Many lenders (and some agents) will tell you to get your pre-approval letter tailored to the property you want to purchase. Some loan officers do not even want to even put a dollar amount in your pre-approval letter and will just state that you are pre-approved to purchase that address. They will tell you this is for your benefit, but don't believe them! When multiple offers come in, they are often astoundingly similar. Sometimes the one thing that is different is that the first buyer  is pre-approved for a lot more than they will be borrowing & the other is only pre-approved for the amount they will need to borrow to buy the house. Guess which buyer gets the accepted offer?

3.) Drop everything to get to that new listing! This cannot be stressed enough. It will not always work, but sometimes simply being the first one in and the first one to submit an offer is what gets you the house. The minute you know there is a new listing you are interested in, you should schedule a showing with your agent.

4.) Make your offer as clean as possible. This is not the time to make the offer contingent on every test possible, nor is it the time to ask for closing cost credits or appliances the seller has not listed as included. For example, radon testing is a common contingency in my area, but not all buyers include one in their offer. To remedy high levels of radon, a mitigation system can be installed, usually for around $850. As a result, we see many buyers leaving this contingency out of their offer in a tight market, in hopes of gaining an advantage over any possible competing offers. (Of course the buyer then budgets $1,000 for radon testing and possible needed mitigation after closing).

5.) Put down as much earnest money as possible with the offer. We have all heard the expression, money talks. Sometimes it does! If you want it to speak for you, write a big earnest money check with your offer. Again, often competing offers are very similar and can be for the exact same price you offered. You don't want the only difference to be that the other buyer put down a nice earnest money deposit with their offer, and you did not. 

A great agent will have even more "tips and tricks" to get you the home you want. Please contact me if you would like to find out more. I love a challenge and have a great track record in multiple offer situations!