Tips for Buyers / Sellers

5 tips for buying in a seller’s market

buying in sellers market

Competition in real estate can be exhausting. You might really love the killer school district, convenient commute, or local attractions that made an area your #1 choice; however, as the bidding wars rage on, you might wonder, “Should I buy in a seller’s market?”

If the answer to that question is “yes” for you, you’ll want to be prepared. Not to worry, we know what it takes to successfully navigate buying in a seller’s market and we’re sharing the info with you. Keep reading to see how you can get a leg up when shopping in a seller’s market.

1. Get started ASAP

No matter where you live, listings for homes in popular neighborhoods are often few and far between. When these homes do hit the market, they typically don’t remain on the market for very long. With that in mind, if you have your heart set on buying in a hot area, starting your house hunt early and having patience means that when the moment comes, you’ll need to act quickly.

If you’re really interested in a home, get as much info as you can beforehand: property reports, disclosures and offer due dates. These can be requested through your buying agent. Look for upcoming open house dates, or even better, set up a private house tour with your agent. Keep your schedule open, because in hot markets, available properties wait for no one.

2. Have your proof of funds & pre-approval ready

This part can be very make or break for homebuyers.

If you’ve decided you want to throw your hat in the ring and make an offer, always assume that many others have as well. Anticipating a multiple offer situation can help you come out ahead.

After you’ve seen a home, speed is often the name of the game. For truly hot markets, you might only have a day or two to get your offer submitted after viewing the home. Have your buyer agent double check with the seller’s agent regarding the offer deadline so that you can be sure yours is submitted on time

In order for you to be “offer ready” when you find the property you want, it’s crucial to have any supplemental paperwork, like your mortgage pre-approval and proof of funds for the down payment, ready to go ahead of time.

3. Keep your offer simple

Most offers include contingencies — things like completing inspections and receiving a mortgage commitment — that need to happen for the transaction to move forward.

When looking at offers, sellers tend to see contingencies as potential opportunities for the deal to fall apart. As a result, they’re more likely to choose an offer that’s relatively “clean” or reduces their risk of potential hang-ups.

In a competitive market, you might see other buyers removing or reducing their contingency periods to make their offer more competitive.

However, it’s also crucial that you feel comfortable moving forward. For example, if you choose to waive an inspection contingency, you’re agreeing to buy the home regardless of what problems may exist.

As you put your offer together, consider the maximum amount you’re willing to pay, what compromises you’re willing to make and how flexible you can be on your closing schedule.

4. Start with a strong sale price

Besides keeping your contingencies in check, there is another component of the offer that will help set you apart from the crowd and it’s fairly obvious — the offer price.

Put simply, money talks.

Sellers are likely to be enticed by a big payout, or if possible, a cash offer.

When you’re vying for a home in a popular neighborhood, you need to put your best foot forward.

As for how much you should offer, consider the asking price first. If it’s within your budget you may want to at least offer that amount if not a little more. Consider the amount listed on your pre-approval as your maximum, and work within those limits.

You can use a mortgage calculator to get an idea of what your monthly payment will look like at various sale prices.

5. Write an offer letter (aka Love Letter)

On the surface, all offers look the same. That is to say, they all generally include the same information about the buyer. In a situation where the seller is considering multiple offers, all that information can start to blend together. An offer letter or a personal note you write to the seller explaining why you’re the perfect buyer for the home, might just be the thing that sets your offer apart from the others.

Bear in mind that the ideal offer letter is short, sweet, and to the point. Your goal is to connect with the seller emotionally so that they’ll be more inclined to choose your offer. In a few paragraphs, you’ll want to tell the seller why you fell in love with their home and why they should sell to you.

Remember, here’s a reason people say “a little flattery goes a long way.” So, don’t be afraid to compliment the owner on things like how well they’ve maintained the home. Check out our post on how to write an offer letter to get tips and examples on crafting an offer letter that gets you the house.

Final thoughts

It can feel overwhelming shopping for a home amongst fierce competition, but don’t be discouraged. With the right amount of preparation, you’ll be ready to make the necessary moves to secure the home of your dreams.

This article is not a substitute for advice from a licensed real estate agent regarding your particular situation. This article is meant for informational purposes only and is not intended to be construed as financial, tax, legal, or insurance advice. We always encourage you to reach out to your own agent regarding your own situation.

Written by Heidi Knight

3 Must-Do’s When Selling Your House This Year | Simplifying The Market

3 Must-Do’s When Selling Your House This Year

It’s exciting to put a house on the market and to think about making new memories in new spaces. However, despite the anticipation of what’s to come, we can still have deep sentimental attachments to the home we’re leaving behind. Growing emotions can help or hinder a sale depending on how we manage them.

When it comes to the bottom line, homeowners need to know what it takes to avoid costly mistakes when it’s time to move. Being mindful and prepared for the process can help you stay on the right track when selling your house this year.

1. Price Your Home Right

When inventory is low, like it is in the current market, it’s common to think buyers will pay whatever we ask when setting a listing price. Believe it or not, that’s not always true. Don’t forget that the buyer’s bank will send an appraiser to determine the fair value for your house. The bank will not lend more than what the house is worth, so be aware that you might need to renegotiate the price after the appraisal. A real estate professional will help you set the true value of your home.

2. Keep Your Emotions in Check

Today, homeowners are living in their houses for a longer period of time. Since 1985, the average tenure, or the time a homeowner has owned their home, has increased from 5 to 10 years (as shown in the graph below):3 Must-Do’s When Selling Your House This Year | Simplifying The MarketThis is several years longer than what used to be the historical norm. The side effect, however, is when you stay in one place for so long, you may get even more emotionally attached to your space. If it’s the first home you bought or the house where your children grew up, it very likely means something extra special to you. Every room has memories, and it’s hard to detach from the sentimental value.

For some homeowners, that makes it even harder to negotiate and separate the emotional value of the house from the fair market price. That’s why you need a real estate professional to help you with the negotiations along the way.

3. Stage Your Home Properly

We’re generally quite proud of our décor and how we’ve customized our houses to make them our own unique homes, but not all buyers will feel the same way about your design. That’s why it’s so important to make sure you stage your house with the buyer in mind.

Buyers want to envision themselves in the space so it truly feels like it could be their own. They need to see themselves inside with their furniture and keepsakes – not your pictures and decorations. Stage and declutter so they can visualize their own dreams as they walk down the hall. A real estate professional can help you with tips to get your home ready to stage and sell.

Bottom Line

Today’s sellers’ market might be your best chance to make a move. If you’re considering selling your house, let’s connect so you have the help need to navigate through the process while prioritizing these must-do’s.

Don’t Be Fooled: Denver’s Real Estate Market Is Still Hot

What cool down? Denver real estate may be evening out (relatively speaking) in the suburbs, but in the city proper, it’s as competitive as ever. | 

Even though Denver’s real estate market is cooling relative to last year, it’s still hot. That’s the message Jill Schafer, chair of the market trends committee of the Denver Metro Association of Realtors, had to share about DMAR’s latest prognosis on the Denver metro area’s real estate market.

DMAR last week released a report examining home sales data from 11 counties that encompass Denver, Boulder, and their suburbs. Year-over-year, the report found the number of homes sold in February decreased 10.9 percent and the median price of homes also decreased slightly, down 1.2 percent year-over-year. The Denver Post noted this was the first February-over-February drop in seven years, but Schafer says buyers and sellers shouldn’t put any stock in that observation.

“The first six months of last year were just kind of an anomaly,” Schafer says. “We were crazy busy.”

Schafer says high-demand neighborhoods like RiNo, Sloan’s Lake, and Highland are as competitive as ever. The market is cooling (relatively speaking) in the suburbs, but even that doesn’t mean much. In Denver’s highly competitive real estate market (the most competitive in the nation, according to Forbes), the market can stand to cool a little and still be quite hot. Sellers have an advantage across the non-luxury market (that means—if you have the money—it’s easier to buy single-family homes selling above $1 million or condos at $750,000).

Overall, homes priced for the rest of us are now selling at a median of 39 days on the market. That’s up 21 percent from this time last year. This means buyers are gaining a little ground, but they’re still far from having the upper hand in this real estate market. Schafer says when homes are selling quickly (less than five months on the market), sellers have the advantage—they can hold out for a better price. Anything longer than six months on the market, she says, shifts the market advantage to buyers. Prices fall and buyers have more leverage to negotiate.

“We’re still in a strong sellers market,” Schafer says. “And, I don’t think it’s really slowing down in the suburbs. It’s just a little slower.”

Housing inventory on the Front Range is increasing relative to demand, contributing to the slowing market. DMAR’s March report found single-family home inventory increased 36 percent over last year and condo inventory increased 79 percent over last year. Nationwide, the report says Denver ranked sixth for the number of apartments added since last year (11,700).

But this isn’t driving down the average price—that’s increased (less than one percent) across single-family and attached units.

So, if average price is your thermometer, Denver’s not cooling at all.


Schafer shares her advice for buyers and sellers in the Denver-metro market.

Moving on up
“If you’re looking at moving up in price range, now is a great time to sell and move up to a higher price-point, because you’ll have a little more [buying] power there, and your [non-luxury] house will sell at its peak.”

Moving in (for the first time)
“If you’re looking to get into the market for the first time, you’re probably going to be further out from the city, and you may want to look at some new construction. Some of the big builders have move-in-ready properties, and there’s not as much stress for first-time homebuyers if they can find something in their price point, because they don’t [always] do competing offers on new construction.”

Empty-nester’s nightmare
“It’s a little tougher if [homeowners] want to go down in price.” That is, if you want to sell your home and move into something more affordable to save money or downsize. There’s scant inventory of nice, smaller houses priced below luxury levels (that’s where sellers are retaining their advantage), so good luck finding a moderately priced third-act abode.

The takeaway
If you can pay to play, Denver’s real estate game is excellent. “Sellers don’t have to have their home on the market forever. Prices are still strong. Interest rates are incredibly low and they’re probably going to stay there—so to me, it’s the perfect time for people to be buying and selling.”

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