1. It’s a Seller’s Market
A seller’s market means that there are a lot more buyers than homes available for sale. And that means that homes are selling quickly and in many cases for more than list price. If you’re a seller this is good news. If you’re a buyer not so much, and many of our clients are both.
2. Be Prepared
When you find the right house you need to make an offer as quickly as possible. Get pre-approved by your lender. Have your agent go over the contracts and process. Do a dry run on their electronic signature tools. A well priced house in a popular neighborhood can go under contract in one day so you need to be able to present an offer within a few hours of your decision.
If you’re selling get your house in the best possible condition, stage it for sale, get professional photos and then list it at a competitive price. I don’t recommend long periods of ‘coming soon’ or pocket listings. Read my article on pocket listings to see why.
3. Study the Market
Not only do you have to make an offer quickly, it has to be at an acceptable price, and many homes are going under contract at more than the asking price. You’re not going to win by making a low offer and negotiating to the middle. The more familiar you are with the market, the better prepared you’ll be to make a strong offer, so spend time looking at homes that are for sale and that have sold to get familiar current pricing. And make sure you’re using a search tool that’s directly connected to the local Multiple Listing Service. National sites like Zillow and Trulia don’t have the latest information, and their automated pricing estimates are unreliable.
4. Get Creative
Once you’ve narrowed your search take every opportunity to drive the neighborhood looking for signs of an upcoming sale such as PODS, remodeling contractors, empty homes, or coming soon signs. Stop and talk to neighbors. Being first can make a difference. When you make your offer ask your agent to explain how you can make it stand out in a crowd. A large down payment is powerful, and can win even at a lower offer price, but there are other ways to add appeal.
5. Be prepared for setbacks
Since multiple offers are common be prepared for disappointment. If you’re a buyer it may take several tries to win the bidding war.
If you’re selling a home and presented with multiple offers you’ll want to select the one that’s most likely to close, and it may not be the highest price. Keep in mind that there’s always a second stage of negotiation after the inspection, and buyers that made an overly aggressive offer are likely to be more demanding then.
6. Get Help
Since we are in a competitive market having a knowledgeable professional on your side is invaluable, and it’s free to a buyer. You’ll want to find someone that you can trust to provide good advice, so shop around. Don’t settle for an agent you’re uncomfortable with just because they’re a friend of the family or ‘neighborhood expert’. This is similar to choosing a doctor or financial planner. You’re looking for expertise, not social skills.
If you’re selling be wary of agents who want to market your home privately. It’s rarely in your best interest. And like any purchase, don’t shop solely on price. A cut rate fee may get you cut rate service, and a good agent can easily earn their fee in a higher sales price and smooth transaction.
Ready to get started? Give us a call and we’ll tell you how we help our clients cope with the challenges in Austin’s overheated real estate market.