We’ve all heard the stories about the house down the street that sold for $50,000 more than the asking price in less than 24 hours. And we’ve heard the tales of heartbreak from home buyers who searched for months and lost out on their dream home because the seller had 10 offers the day it hit the market. Whether you’re a buyer or seller, navigating the hot 2021 real estate market requires the help of a few professionals and a game plan.
On the Seller’s Side
Start with Your Agent
If you’re ready to list your house for sale, it’s tempting to forgo a real estate agent and put a sign in your yard yourself. Afterall, there are more buyers than sellers. Before you run to the hardware store and purchase your sign remember your real estate agent does more than list your property. A seasoned agent can assist you in getting top dollar for your property and help you sort through the multiple offers you expect to receive. They can coordinate showings while you continue on in your busy life. They may also offer wise counsel about the offers you receive (i.e. the highest bidder might not be the best deal).
If you want to make your closing happen sooner rather than later secure your home’s inspection before you list your house. You won’t have any surprises about items that need to be fixed, and you can present a full picture of the property to the buyers. In a hot market, many houses with problems like an old, leaky roof still sell for top dollar. Your agent can help you decide which issues must be fixed and which ones buyers are usually willing to take on after the purchase. You can also choose the title agent (ahem, that’s your cue to call The Stiles Law Firm). The buyer has the option to choose the title company, but if you’ve already lined one up they likely won’t.
Clean It Up
Although some buyers are willing to take on certain repairs, it will always be worth your time to prepare your property for sale. Spruce up your landscaping. Declutter your living spaces. Do a deep clean before listing and daily cleaning to keep it show ready. And at the top of your list, invest a little to have your home staged if you want a chance to be that property to sells fast and above asking price.
Review Your Offers
If you know you won’t be accepting certain offers let the buyers know quickly so they can move on to the next property. Respond to all your offers in 24 hours. You’ll need to make time in your schedule to speak with your realtor regularly once the listing is live and to review the offers.
Know Where You’re Going
It’s as likely you’ll end up with a cash offer and a faster closing date as it is that you’ll have thirty days to figure out your next move. If you don’t already have a rental or another home lined up, it’s time to make those plans before you put your house on the market.
On the Buyer’s Side
Start with Your Agent
Whether you’re a buyer or a seller the first place to start is with your real estate agent. Talk about what’s important to you in a property and what’s happening in the real estate market. If you aren’t quite ready to buy just yet, let the agent know you’re starting the process. Find out their availability to show properties and how to best schedule your time. If you’re moving from one place to another and will only have a limited amount of time in town to look, schedule that day well in advance.
Before you’re ready to buy, take a look at what’s on the market. Make notes about what you love and what you hate. Notice prices and how quickly homes stay on the market in specific neighborhoods. Use this time to get your game plan in place. Take your time. Don’t get caught up in the excitement of a “hot” real estate market and buy a home you don’t love.
Get preapproved by your lender before you begin looking at properties. Many home sellers won’t even consider an offer if you aren’t approved. And know where you’re willing to compromise. Is that third bathroom really important or do you have to have a large patio?
Make the Best Offer
In a seller’s market, buyers can make the offer sweeter without offering more money. Consider only asking for post-inspection repairs for issues that are estimated to cost more than a certain amount. (But don’t waive the inspection altogether.) You can also offer a rent-back agreement if the seller hasn’t found a place to go yet or let the sellers set the closing timeline.
Have a Plan B
You may not win the first house you make an offer on. The National Association of Home Builders say 64% of homebuyers in 2021 searched for more than three months before they found the right home. And almost half were outbid on at least one property. This means you may need to rent for a while until you find the right home, or if you’re also selling a home work out that lease-back agreement with your buyers.
The hot real estate market has presented challenges for both buyers and sellers. At The Stiles Law Firm, our closing team is here to make sure your closing runs as smoothly and quickly as possible. And we make your closing a celebration.