A Look At Real Estate In the Catoctin Region

Buying or Selling in Today’s Market

By Erin Kelly, Realtor, Team Reeder of Long & FosterReal Estate, Inc.

Is purchasing a home one of your resolutions for 2022? Today’s real estate market continues to be highly competitive and fast-paced. As a buyer, it can feel overwhelming to keep up with the demands of the homebuying process. Here are five tips to help you write a strong offer.

1. Find a Trustworthy, Real Estate Professional

No matter what the housing market looks like, it is always important to work with a trusted real estate agent. As Freddie Mac puts it: “The success of your homebuying journey largely depends on the company you keep. . . . Be sure to select experienced, trusted professionals who will help you make informed decisions and avoid any pitfalls.” Real estate agents are experts in the local market. They have insight into what’s worked for other buyers in your area and what sellers may be looking for in an offer. They inform you of your options and walk with you through the process so that you can achieve success. Remember that your agent is always your biggest advocate.

2. Get Pre-Approved & Know Your Budget

Knowing what you can afford and how much a mortgage lender is willing to let you finance is critical to your success as a homebuyer. The best course of action is to get pre-approved with a lender before you even start to look at homes with your agent; that way, you can focus on properties that are within your means. In today’s market, having a pre-approval letter already in-hand when making an offer has become the standard, and sellers are sometimes even looking for a pre-approval from a local lender. Instead of waiting for a lender to run the numbers while another buyer swoops in, get pre-approved ahead of time. It will allow you to move quickly when you find one that you love.

3. Be Prepared to Move Fast

Homes are selling quickly, sometimes even within days of being on the market. As a buyer, staying on top of the market and moving quickly is key. Your agent can help you put together and submit your best offer as soon as you find the home you want to buy. Sometimes offers will be presented to the seller as they are received, or sometimes an offer deadline will be set and offers will be presented all at once. It depends on the seller and their listing agent. Either way, it is always helpful to be ahead of the competition.

4. Make a Strong, But Fair Offer

According to the latest Realtors Confidence Index from NAR, 40 percent of offers today are above the list price. In such a competitive market, emotions and prices can run high. Unfortunately, that means submitting an offer at or below list price can give reason for your offer to be overlooked. Having an agent to help you submit a strong, yet fair offer, is critical in these situations. Your agent can help you understand the market value of the home and recent sales trends in the area. They can also give insight on the other aspects of your offer, besides the price, that you can adjust to entice a seller. These include contingencies like inspections, appraisals, and financing.

5. Be a Flexible Negotiator

When putting together an offer, your trusted real estate agent will help you consider which levers you can pull, including contract contingencies. Be aware that there are certain contingencies you may not want to give up. Waiving inspections or purchasing a home “as-is,” (which means that the seller isn’t required to pay for repairs) can leave you stuck with a house that you can’t afford to fix. Lean on your real estate agent to make an informed decision, and only do what makes you feel comfortable.

Bottom Line

It’s no secret that owning real estate provides many financial benefits. But beyond that, the non-financial benefits are what makes owning a home a New Year’s resolution for so many people. When a house becomes a home, it provides security and stability. Purchasing a home can be a highly emotional process.

In today’s competitive landscape, trusting a local real estate professional is more important than ever to keep your head above water and make a winning offer on your dream home!

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