Shopping for Home in a Competitive Area: Tips for Buyers

Looking for a new home can be stressful enough as you work out your budget and try to find something that will fit your needs, but when your area is in high demand, shopping for your new home can also become competitive as you try to beat other buyers to the punch with making your offer. If the lack of inventory and the chance of losing out on a home you love is adding to your stress, here are some tips that can help you find your home even when your area is a seller's market. 

1. Have financing ready and waiting.

Get all of your financing needs taken care of before you make any offers. This way, your offer is more appealing to a seller. Sellers don't want to wait around to see if maybe a buyer gets financing. If there are multiple interested buyers, they will usually go with the person who has the most secure loan prospects.

2. Be ready to pay more earnest money. 

Earnest money is a check submitted with your offer that indicates how invested you are in the home. This money goes directly to your closing costs and down payment, but a larger amount is better for a competitive offer. If you back out of your offer, you can lose your earnest money. Pledging more in the beginning shows the buyer you are less likely to back out of the deal. 

3. Check new listings daily and keep your schedule flexible.

New listings can go quickly in an area where a lot of buyers are searching for homes. Check listings first thing in the morning, and be ready to take time off work to view houses during the day. Evenings and weekends are peak showing times for buyers because they try to fit showings around work schedules. If you can see the house first, you can make the first offer. 

4. Make it personal.

If you know you'll be competing with a lot of other people for the house you want, try to help your case by writing a letter to the seller explaining why that house means so much to you. Maybe you are getting married and want a family home. Maybe you have family close by that supports you. These details aren't part of a normal offer, but they can help a seller understand your special interest in their home. 

Talk to a real estate agent about how to make your offer for a home for sale the most appealing.