It’s not new news that the Greenville real estate market is hot, hot, hot! It’s a seller’s market, which is great for sellers and challenging for buyers. What are tangible steps you can take to be prepared to navigate buying a home in 2021.
First, get preapproved. I recommend talking to a couple of local lenders about this. Getting preapproved is a fairly easy process to give you quick and solid information to help you have confidence moving forward. This step helps you know how much you qualify for. It helps you understand what interest rates are currently. It also determines what loan type you can qualify for and the down payment amount you will need at closing. It helps you interview a lender and see if you trust them and can communicate well with them. This preapproval letter lasts 90 days and is necessary when submitting an offer.
Interview Real Estate Agents
Second, if you haven’t already interviewed real estate agents, now is the time to do that. Many people use referrals from friends and family members. Some find an agent through inquiring on Realtor.com or Zillow. It is important that you like and trust your real estate agent and that they are educated about the area and how to represent you in this competitive market. They will ask you to sign an agency agreement with them. That is when you officially hire their brokerage to represent you for a period of time. Agency can be terminated if you feel they are not listening to you, available to answer your questions or show properties, or if you are not building trust and communication. When you are under agency, they will work for you to represent you with For Sale By Owner properties, off-market properties, or properties on MLS. If you buy a home while under agency and don’t use them on the transaction, that is breaching a contract. You can avoid problems with clear communication and asking the right questions. If your agent is not working out for you, you have the right to talk to their broker in charge too. They can help facilitate some difficult conversations if needed. You should feel like your agent is your biggest ally in this. Some agents are more transactional. Some agents are more relational. Some agents are casual. Some agents are more professional. I’d encourage you to interview two or three and make a decision.
An agent will set you up on a property search after listening to your wants and needs. I encourage buyers to not be too specific. The number of bedrooms and bathrooms, whether you want a subdivision or more rural setting, lot size. a specific school district, owner’s suite on main are all important factors. The more specific the other things are, you can limit inventory. Communicate with your agent what properties you like. They will arrange showings for you and share appropriate information. I often don’t research too many details until you see the home and know that you are very interested. At that point, reviewing comparison properties and prices, property disclosures, and knowing how much property taxes are and other factors are important for you to review.
There are many suggestions to position buyers stronger in this market. Having cash is beneficial, but not always possible. Waiving some contingencies is helpful. There are risks to waiving contingencies. Make sure your agent is explaining risks and benefits to you so you can make an educated decision. If your agent is pushing you to do something you don’t feel comfortable with, pay attention to that. In this market, many homes are going under contract for over list prices. There are ways an agent can help you navigate a strong offer by using an escalation clause, putting down a large amount of earnest money, being flexible with closing date, showing proof of funds, and other tools, which are being used. You should have complete confidence with your offer.
Other things to consider when house hunting are to look for homes that have been on the market for a couple of weeks or longer. Those sellers will usually be more willing to review any offer. The homes fresh on the market will have much more interest and competition. Don’t get too locked in on style. You can add style. One recent buyer of mine bought a home that was outdated but had good bones. They were open to neighborhoods which really helped them, also. They have been thrifty and creative in their updates, but it is getting them exactly what they want and need and they are thrilled. Another factor is the price. The list price is a suggestion. The comparison market analysis helps support a list price. That said, buyers drive the prices. Some homes are way overpriced. Some homes are priced fairly. Your agent should be able to help you confidently evaluate a number that is right for you. The biggest question I ask when preparing an offer is, “What value does this home have to you?”
Above all, try to handle the process with little emotion. That’s easier said than done, but it’s really advised to guard against feeling too emotionally invested in a home when putting in an offer. Expect to lose a couple of offers before going under contract. After going under contract, you can get more excited!! I have seen and learned that if it’s meant to be, it will be. There is a story to be made in your house hunting journey. Try to be patient. Handle losses with respect. Strategize. Trust your real estate agent to help you put your best offer out there.
If I can help in any way, please let me know. I love helping people sell and buy homes. Home is the most important investment financially to many people. Home is also the hub of investing in relationships, memories, and more.