How to Find a Competitively Priced Home . . . and Buy It

Today, real estate markets are far different than they were eight or nine years ago. Shortly after the recession, buyers could find amazing deals on homes. It was a combination of foreclosures that reduced prices and lack of competition.

Finding a great deal on a home now takes a lot of research and legwork. Buyers also have to diligently check listings and public auctions daily.

But finding a competitively priced home is only half the battle. Purchasing a well-priced home requires the help of several professionals including a real estate agent, appraiser, and title company as well as an offer that’s going to seal the deal.

Here are the steps buyers need to take if they want to find a competitively priced home and be the one to buy it.

Identify Your Target Neighborhoods

During the busy spring homebuying season and through the summer serious buyers pull out all the stops. In competitive markets the more focused you are the more likely you are to find an affordable home.

The number one rule of real estate is location, location, location. Buyers that narrow their search to a few target neighborhoods are able to focus their attention and disregard listings that aren’t in the most desirable location. When inventory is low, it’s equally important to focus on your target neighborhoods so you’re among the first to know when a new home hits the market.

Set Up Auto Search Alerts

Once you’ve identified your target neighborhoods you can pair that information with home features to create search parameters. A Realtor.org survey found that 42 percent of buyers check real estate listing sites every day.

Instead of spending time doing searches every day, buyers can set up auto search alerts. Websites like Realtor.com and Redfin.com allow users to create an account and receive email alerts the moment a home that fits the search parameters hits the market. If you download the corresponding app on a smartphone you’ll receive text alerts as well.

In the most competitive real estate markets like Austin, TX and San Jose, CA getting instant alerts can make a difference. Homes that are priced well can receive an offer the same day they are listed.

Find a Knowledgeable Real Estate Agent Who Can Provide Comps

Buyers can find available homes on their own online, but having a real estate agent comes with a few important benefits. One of those benefits is access to MLS information with sales figures for similar homes that have recently sold. It’s what’s known as comparables.

Comparables give buyers insight into the true market value of a home. Competitively priced homes those that are at or below market value. The real estate agent can also provide their professional opinion on what a home is worth based on other factors like future development in the neighborhood and appreciation potential.

Act Quickly When an Affordable Home Hits the Market

A well-priced home in a competitive market is going to get a lot of traffic. Buyers must act quickly if they want to get an accepted offer. That requires touring the home as soon as possible and making an offer as soon as you find the home you want. Waiting even a single day could give another buyer the chance to get an executed contract.

Make a Strong Offer

In most markets, a competitively priced home that’s in good shape is going to get an offer. In competitive markets, a home that’s priced well is likely to get multiple offers. Whether you’re the first or fourth buyer to put in an offer, it has to be strong.

Buyers can use a number of tactics to sweeten an offer:

  • Offering list price or better
  • Shorten contingency periods
  • Waive contingencies
  • Write personal letters along with the offer
  • Make a sizeable down payment
  • Putting down a large earnest money deposit

 The most effective strategy is offering to pay cash, however, in February 2018 cash sales accounted for 24% of home purchases. If a buyer has the means to pay cash it may be the best way to get an accepted offer when there are multiple offers on the table.

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