The Austin real estate market has never been hotter. The latest report from the Austin Board of REALTORS® indicates that Austin home sales in May rose 13.2% from the same time last year. The City of Austin housing inventory currently sits at 1.9 months. Consider that a balanced market is approximately 6.5 months, and you quickly see that you have a tight market.
This is great news for sellers, who will be able to sell their homes in record time, but what does this mean for buyers? Although the Austin real estate market is highly competitive, this doesn't mean you should be scared away from buying. If you do your research, have your finances in order, and you're prepared to act flexibly and quickly, you can still land the home of your dreams.
Here are some helpful tips to buying a home in a seller's market:
1. Window shop
Before even beginning the buying process, educate yourself on the local real estate market by window shopping. Get acquainted with local neighborhoods, figure out what your expectations are out of a home, and what fair market value is. Visit open houses for a few months to familiarize yourself with the buying process, and set reasonable expectations for what type of homes are within your price range.
It's common for offers to come in on a home in the first 12-24 hours after it is listed, so make sure you are able to view a listing at the seller's earliest convenience (rather than your own). Make time in your schedule, and be as flexible as possible. You should always consider yourself on call to view a listing at the drop of a hat. If you put off a viewing for a few days, it's possible the home will already have had multiple offers.
3. Hire a licensed REALTOR®
As a buyer, there's no added cost to you to hire a licensed REALTOR®, so why not take advantage of the expertise of a professional? Real estate agents can provide an inside track on new listings, as well as detailed and comprehensive knowledge of real estate laws and processes. They'll be able to provide fair assessments of market value, and they'll negotiate in your best interest as a buyer.
For the most experienced and knowledgeable Austin real estate agents, contact JB Goodwin REALTORS® now. We have the expertise necessary to help you land your dream home.
4. Have your financing and paperwork together
In a hot market, the proof is in the paperwork. Talk is cheap, and the more evidence you have that your offer will successfully follow through, the more likely your offer is to be accepted over the competition. When making an offer, come equipped with a mortgage pre-approval letter and a proof of funds from your bank. Being pre-approved for a mortgage will also inform you as to what you can realistically afford, without surprises.
5. Skip the low-ball offers
In a seller's market, you're better off skipping long price negotiations. Put in an aggressive offer that's within your budget right out of the gate to show that you're serious. There may be other offers submitted, so make sure you come in at a fair price. That being said, always make sure you're comfortable with the decision before making an offer, and be sure to stay within your budget.
6. Drop the contingencies
Buying contingencies are one of the top reasons offers are rejected. Making the offer contingent on securing financing or selling your home in advance could be a fatal stumbling block. Consult with your REALTOR® about what contingencies may be worth waiving and what contingencies you should keep to avoid taking on too much risk. Consider getting a pre-inspection done before making an offer so that you don't have to make the purchase contingent on a home inspection. This one factor could put you ahead of the competition.
7. Consider other locations
If your offers keep getting rejected, you may be priced out of your ideal neighborhood. Time to be flexible. Consider what makes the neighborhood out of your price range, and figure out if it's because of factors that aren't important to you. For example, your desired neighborhood may be pricier due to its prestigious school district, but you don't plan on being a parent. There may be a similar up-and-coming neighborhood in a lower price range that still ticks all of your must-have boxes.
8. Keep a positive attitude
It's almost guaranteed that you're going to submit multiple offers that aren't accepted, and at some point you will have the feeling that you missed out on your dream home. Expect that this will happen going in to the buying process, and don't lose hope! In 2015, home buyers spent a median of 10 weeks searching for houses, looking at 10 homes before having an offer accepted. Considering that the Austin real estate market is especially hot right now, you should expect to view more than 10 homes before having an offer accepted. Don't get discouraged, as you will find your dream home!
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