snoopy losingThis probably isn’t news to most people at this point right now, but the real estate market is hot! Especially in certain places…Hamilton has been called the best place to invest in Canada by some, and a properly priced and listed home can often times sell in one day (I can attest to this from personal experience). Brantford is another where the demand is so high, and the supply is so low, that properly priced and listed homes are not only selling in record short times, but also in competition…sometimes grabbing over $25,000 OVER the list price! (note the key phrase: properly priced and listed!) How sweet it is to be a Seller in a market like that! But what about the other end of things? What about the Buyers? Buying a home is already a very stressful and sometimes overwhelming process, but now you have to do it in a rushed manner with the odds stacked against you. So what do you do? Let me give you some personal insight here and some tips and strategies. I’m not going to tell you I can make it easy, but just maybe I can help to make it less frustrating and stressful.

  1. Know what you want before you even start looking. There are some things in a home that are hard fast features that you absolutely need. Number of bedrooms or bathrooms is often times one of these things. Know before hand what this hard list is, and don’t compromise on it. Be ready, however, to be flexible on your want list. Do you really want a 2 car garage, but at the end of the day, a carport would do the job? A finished basement is awesome, but can you take an unfinished one and do it yourself?  The thing is, there are a lot of other people looking at the same home, and you might not have the time to mull it over for a day or two. Knowing what things you can compromise on before you step through the door will help you make that necessary decision a lot faster.
  2. Have a solid mortgage preapproval already in place. If you don’t, not only can you be in for a big surprise when you do apply for the mortgage, but it can shave days off the time it takes to meet your conditions. Having an offer accepted on the perfect home, than being denied a mortgage can will be devastatingly disappointing. Plus, when you’re in a time crunch, you aren’t in a very good position to negotiate with the bank for the best rates
  3. Time is of the essence. Sometimes when a property is listed, the Seller states that they will not look at any offers until a certain date (this is a bit of a controversial practice, but that’s a subject for another blog). This will give you a bit of flexibility with your schedule to get in, take a look, and not as rushed to make a snap decision, but it also means that you’re likely to be facing more offers to compete against. Make sure that your REALTOR is on top of things, and can notify you immediately when a home is listed. If you’re lucky, you just might be the first one to look at it, and maybe, just maybe, you can get an offer in and presented before anyone else.
  4. Set your limits. That limit might be a specific budget that’s based on your mortgage preapproval, or it might be how much above market value you’re willing to pay for the perfect home. It’s easy to let your emotions drive your decisions when faced with hot markets and competing offers, but you have to stay level headed (don’t worry, part of my job is to help you with this one). An experienced REALTOR should be able to tell you if the home is actually worth what the Seller is asking. It’s very common for competing offers to generate bids that are more than what the Seller is asking, and I’ve seen homes that actually sold for 25-30k above the list price! That might not seem like a big deal in a place like Toronto, but in Branford or Norfolk County, that’s going to mean you now have to live in the home for a lot longer, just for the true market value to catch up to what you paid. Which leads me to the next point.
  5. Be willing to walk away. Understanding the last point, you will be more equipped to handle this point. You may absolutely love the home, but unless there is a unique reason that you just have to live there (ie: proximity to a specific school or amenity), do not question or deviate from the limit that you already set for yourself. Put your best foot forward, and be comfortable knowing that you’ll either get it, or you won’t. And if you don’t, you can walk away with no resent or regret. Trust me, another home will be listed that you will love too!
  6. Try not to get frustrated and know you’re not the only ones. Ok, I’ll admit, this is a tough one, because it can be so difficult to control base emotions like frustration. But remember that you’re not the only one that’s looking at a rejected offer come back to you…the same thing is happening to every other offer except one on that go around. And it’s happening daily to people all over. I’ve had clients that faced a half dozen or more rejected offers before they got one accepted. It sucks, there’s no easy  way to say it, but if you follow the tips I’ve laid out here, the whole process won’t seem as daunting. Don’t forget why you’re buying a home in the first place! Sometimes the process is more difficult than others, but don’t let it stop you from striving towards your goal.

Theodore Roosevelt was quoted saying “Nothing in this world that is worth having, or worth doing unless it means effort, pain, and difficulty.”

To wrap this up, I want to make note of a question that nearly every client asks me when we are about to write an offer in competition. “What should I offer?”. The answer? Well, to get that, give me a shout/text/email, let’s find a home you love, and I’ll be more than happy to guide you through it, and then I will answer that question for you face to face!

These tips will apply to anywhere that is facing a Seller’s Market, not just my own. So share this post with anyone you think might benefit from it!

**A huge thank you for reading and making it to the end…this one is a bit longer than my regular posts! If you or somebody you know live in south western Ontario, or would like to, let me know, and I’ll be in touch…let’s make those dreams a reality! (not intended to solicit anyone who’s already under buyer or seller contracts).

~Matt

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