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Maybe High School DID Prepare Us for Life

This is nothing earth-shattering for any realtor who’s been around the block a couple of times and seen the market go up and down once or twice. Even though it’s not information that’s going to make you shoot soda (or any other beverage of your choice) through your nose, I thought it would be good to include it here as a gentle reminder – and perhaps allow you to share this with your clients. And if you’re new to the real estate world, this might have been covered in school, but it’s possible you might have been preoccupied with Pokémon Go or what our presidential candidates were saying about one another out on the campaign trail. I’m not asking that you provide me with a reason or excuse: I’m just going to share it with you for your own personal illumination.

The folks at Realtor.com were kind enough recently to offer up a cheat sheet for surviving a seller’s market. Times like these are not for the faint-of-heart buyers, nor are they ideal for sellers who don’t take the time to get educated (or get a really good agent – know any?).

Tip #1 to Buyers: Be on call. Many will say, “If you’re only looking now and then when it’s convenient, you’re probably wasting your time.” They suggest treating house hunting like job hunting. If someone calls with a lead, follow up promptly to gauge whether it could be a good fit – above all, don’t linger.

Tip #2 to Buyers: Bring the paperwork. To be taken seriously, buyers should get a mortgage pre-approval letter – we have something better – as well as a “proof of funds” form from their bank to show they have enough to cover a down payment. Timing is everything.

Tips #3 to Buyers: Limit the contingencies. In a seller’s market, buyers may need to drop some of the contingencies. Sellers want the fewest hurdles to closing as possible. If your buyers come in with several contingencies — such as “if” they secure financing — the sellers will likely bypass their offer and take another with less hassle. Also, don’t waste your time low-balling a seller – always put in an aggressive offer.

Tip #4 to Buyers: Cast a wide net. Search for homes outside prime locations if faced with limited or high-priced choices. Buyers need to carefully consider those things on which they’re willing to compromise. Sometimes properties sit, even in a seller’s market, because of a problem that is scaring other buyers away such as some renovation work that may need to be done. Those “flaws,” however, might not be a big deal to your buyers. Finding a house this way can also cut down on the amount of competition you will face.

Again, I know I’m not telling you anything you don’t already know, but it bears reminding: you’re the key to getting the buyers to follow these four tips. It might make you feel like you’re back at the kitchen table and you’re telling your high school child (or you’re the one being told by your parent) that the future rides on getting this project or homework done on time, but the payoff when it got done was well worth it, right?

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