The housing market is crazy. Prices are way up and inventory is way down. Home sales surged to a 15-year high last year. Some desperate homeowners are going to extreme measures to get the house of their dreams. But with big money on the line, that can be risky. Consumer Reports explains how to navigate the tricky home-buying process in a more responsible way.
According to a recent survey, since the pandemic began 28% of home buyers made offers over the asking price, and 26% agreed to purchase homes as-is.
Many people are buying homes without requiring sellers to make fixes. And many are bidding on multiple homes at the same time, hoping to land just one.
If you can’t afford to go above the asking price, there are ways to make your offer stand out. One way is to get what’s called up-front underwriting from a mortgage lender. This takes the standard mortgage preapproval a step further. Underwriting gets all your financial information vetted in advance and a firm pledge for a loan of a fixed amount, saving you weeks of back-and-forth paperwork.
There are also ways to sweeten your offer without actually raising it. Let the sellers stay in the home for a set time after closing—potentially free of charge—or let them keep a portion of the money in escrow if the deal falls through.
And if you really want to swing for the fences, consider a home that may not be on the market.
If you see one you like but it isn’t for sale, ask your agent to contact the owner and make an offer. Hey, you never know.
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And remember, it’s only a house. Be patient, and keep the transaction in perspective to keep yourself grounded.
Some real estate agents recommend checking listings on Thursday evenings when they say brand-new ones are more likely to be posted.