Buying a home is one of the most teeth-gnashing, hair-pulling things a person can experience. It’s stressful enough pouring your life savings into the place you plan to live out the rest of your days, but add a hot market to the mix, and you’ve got a recipe for disaster.
If the supply and demand scales tip out of your favor, don’t despair just yet. Here are seven tips for navigating a molten-hot housing market.
1. Consider building custom
When you’re staring down the barrel of a high-stakes housing poker game, sometimes the only way to win is not to play. Consider building a custom home instead of fighting other prospective homeowners and offering thousands over asking for less than your dream.
Navigating the housing market is not only stressful, but it leaves you at the mercy of your local real estate market. If none of the houses on offer have what you’re looking for, you might come to your wit’s end faster than you realize. If every place you’ve looked at makes you dread the idea of signing on the dotted line, it may be time to draw up your own plans.
Other signs that you’re ready for a custom build include having a fleshed-out list of what you want in a home and reaching off-the-chart levels of house-hunting burnout. For those homeowners ready to cash in on the benefits of a custom home, retire your house hunting apps, and research the benefits of custom plans vs. convenient stock house plans.
Once you’ve settled the tie between stock house plans vs. custom house plans, it’s time to reap the benefits of a made-for-you dream home. Building from scratch grants you a priceless opportunity to tailor your future home according to budget, materials, lot, functionality, and style.
2. Be flexible
If building a home is not for you, be ready to roll with the punches at a moment’s notice. The housing market is in constant flux, and to get your dream home, your dreams need to be flexible. Maybe you don’t need a guest room if the house you’re looking at is a better location, or perhaps you can compromise on crown molding for a home that has a fully renovated kitchen.
That doesn’t mean you should settle for a house you don’t love, but you should also go into each viewing with an open mind. There are things you need in a home, and then there are things you want. Don’t be too hasty to cross houses off your list just because they don’t have every single detail you’re looking for.
Remember, you’re buying a house. You can always make changes later.
3. Enlist an agent
As with any field, an expert’s opinion can be invaluable. If you’re keen on getting the house of your dreams, you’ll need some help. Real estate agents can keep track of the market and find homes you may have otherwise overlooked.
Additionally, agents may have the inside scoop on houses that haven’t gone on the market yet. They can offer first dibs on bidding and increase your chances of walking away with the keys.
4. Be ready to compromise
The best way into any seller’s heart is by offering them more money. Navigating the housing market involves a lot of bidding. Houses rarely go for the asking price, so be ready to pay more than is listed. If you want that house, you may have to shell out to beat the competition. That said, don’t shell out the big bucks for a place you feel lukewarm about.
5. Act fast
Unfortunately, you won’t always get time to deliberate. Houses can go from showing to closing bids in mere hours. Know precisely what you want ahead of time and have an offer ready before you even enter a home. You never know who else is on the line to their real estate agent trying to snag your prospect.
You also may have to be prepared to dash out to a showing at a moment’s notice. House hunting is a lot of hurry-up-and-wait, so to mitigate any split-second instant-regret decisions, come prepared.
Know your budget, preferences, and red flags ahead of time. Be sure of what you consider make-it-or-break-it points. If you are indecisive, you will miss out.
6. Offer more than just money
To get the house, you may need to have more on the table than just money. Some sellers are looking for a guaranteed closing date or fast sale, while others want a flexible occupancy date to have extra time to move out. If you can make the seller’s life easier in some way, don’t hesitate to make this known.
There are many other fees involved in buying and selling houses, such as title fees and real estate commissions. If you have the means, you can offer to pay these, too, to sweeten the deal.
7. Have patience
The issue with hot housing markets is that if you are not super-rich, on top of it 24/7, and very lucky, you may find yourself outbid time and again. Don’t be surprised if it takes months to find a house. In today’s market, some people end up searching for up to half a year for a place.
While you might get tired of getting outbid, don’t settle. You need to be patient, or you will end up in a place that you will come to resent.
Navigating a hot housing market can often feel like you’ve jumped into the piranha tank without realizing it. By following these tips, you can get the competitive edge you need to march across your threshold sooner than later.