Buyer’s are finding it challenging to find a home to buy or to beat out other offers. Sellers can be tempted into thinking selling their home will be “easy”, only to find they are on offer #3 after the first 2 have fallen through. Contingent Buyers/Sellers are feeling pressured into quick decisions and scrambling to find temporary living arrangements. Here’s a short survival guide to help find success in our current Denver metro & Boulder county real estate market:
BUYER Survival Tips
SEARCH ALL LISTINGS: This might sound simple but you would be surprised how many agents and companies only try to sell their listings first. Work with a Buyer Agent who will exclusively help you (and is not working for the seller)
HOURLY ALERTS (DAILY IS NOT ENOUGH): You need to know about new listings FIRST!! . This is a must to be the first to know about new listings. If you are searching on national sites like Trulia or Zillow, these only refresh every few days and once a listing is sold, they often leave it on the site for weeks. For our Buyers we have several systems that update and provide alerts HOURLY.
ACCESS TO BOTH MLS’s (DID YOU KNOW THERE ARE TWO?): Along the front range there are 2 MLS’s. Metrolist (Denver) and IRES (Boulder/Northern CO). Most agents only subscribe to one as they are expensive, but you & your agent need to be searching both.
FIND OUT ABOUT UPCOMING LISTINGS BEFORE THEY ARE LISTED: Your agent needs to be networked with other top producing agents in the area as they often tell each other about their upcoming listings before they hit the market.
NO REGRETS OFFERS: Decide what is the most you would pay and offer that amount from the very start. If you get beat out you won’t have any regrets….and if you win…you also won’t feel you overpaid.
BE PRE-APPROVED VS. PREQUALIFIED: Meet with a reputable Mortgage Lender, submit a loan application, & obtain a loan approval BEFORE finding a home to purchase. A full Pre-Approval means they have already verified all your income, assets, credit, and other documentation and the underwriter has already determined your loan will be approved once you find a home. If you are just pre-qualified (credit is only thing verified) then sellers are tossing your offer to the side and choosing buyers who have a rock solid approval.
SAY NO TO CONTIGENCIES: Now is not the time to make an offer contingent on yours selling. It will ALWAYS get beat out by other offers regardless of price. Ask your lender if you can qualify “non-contingent” and if not, get your home sold FIRST and then go house hunting.
SELLER Survival Tips
DON’T CHOOSE THE CHEAPEST AGENT…CHOOSE THE BEST: When considering commission, the most important factor to focus on is not how much an agent charges, but how you can NET the most amount of money from the sale of your home. If a broker charges more, see if they can justify their fee….meaning will you NET more from the sale vs a cheaper agent?
TIME FOR TOP SHELF MARKETING: Also, not all agents who charge more are worth it. But the ones who are will have a strong listing marketing program that maximizes the interest in your home. The more interested buyers & and the better your agent’s negotiating & transaction skills, the higher price and NET you will receive. More interest = More $$
NEGOTIATE LIKE A PRO….AND STAY CLASSY: When you put your home on the market don’t let your agent talk you into waiting a week to review offers so he/she can look like a hero and have 100 offers to show you. The BEST buyers who will actually CLOSE don’t want to play games nor put their family’s home search on hold for a week. Pick the right list price that gets the MAX sales price for your home. Too low you sandbag the market and higher chances the buyer you choose will fall through….too high and you won’t appraise or end up taking less in the end. 24 hr response is reasonable and treat the buyers how you would want to be treated on the buyer side.
FIGURE OUR TEMPORARY HOUSING AHEAD OF TIME: If you will be buying a home here in the Denver metro/Boulder county area after your home sells, consider taking out temporary housing. Making an offer contingent on your home selling is setting you up for disappointment as you will continually lose out to non-contingent offers.
IF YOU CAN, BUY A HOME FIRST AND THEN LIST YOURS: This might sound crazy but remember, you skip the first month’s mortgage payment when you buy. This minimizes the double mortgage payments and with how fast homes are selling, you won’t stay on the market long. Personally, I would rather double up on mortgage payments a couple of months and have stability for our family vs saving a couple month’s of payments but living out of PODS or a studio apartment for $3k/month. Remember, short term rentals are SUPER EXPENSIVE so price them out ahead of time when making your decision.