Here’s how to get a house you love without overpaying in 6 simple steps:
- Adjust your mindset.
In a hyper-competitive home market, it’s a marathon, not a sprint. Put your game face on, try not to fall in love, and be prepared to rumble as you and dozens of other buyers tussle for one seller signature. Rinse. Repeat.
- Know your market.
In a fast-moving market, you need to know a good value when you see it and have the confidence to pounce immediately. Follow local pricing trends on Redfin, Zillow, Realtor.com, and Altos Research. Put your best offer forward right out of the gate with a number you can live with, every time.
- Get your ducks in a row.
In today’s climate, you have to be pre-approved or have proof-of-funds ready-to-go, or no one will take you seriously. Talk to a lender the minute you think you want to buy and work with them to get your house in order.
- Partner with a proactive agent.
Look at their track record, interview them thoroughly, look for chemistry, talk to past clients. Don’t sit back and wait for them to dote on you—this is a partnership. Be proactive, stay in touch, bring energy, enthusiasm, and a sense of humor to the process, and you are more likely to be rewarded with an agent who bends over backwards to get you the deal.
- Don’t let emotions get out of hand.
This is the hardest part. People don’t realize how emotional buying a house can be until they’re neck deep in the process. You will likely fall in love and have your heart broken. There will be drama, just expect it. Try to keep a level head so that you don’t end up overbidding in a heated situation. Impulsive decisions lead to buyer remorse, so think things through.
- Give yourself grace.
You will make mistakes, all part of the learning process. Maybe you pick a bad agent and have to get a new one. Maybe you have to make 10 offers to get one accepted, but then back out because the basement is full of radon. Cut yourself some slack. This is a big, financial decision, fraught with emotion, wrapped in an antiquated process—there will be challenges. The only thing you can control is you, so get ready to roll with the punches.
One of the best ways to avoid overpaying in a bidding war is to get the inside track on a pocket listing before it hits the market.
When we bought our Reno house in 2004, it was a super hot market with multiple offers the norm.
Our agent worked for a large, locally-owned firm with deep community roots. She told us about this listing coming up, and we were able to see it before it hit the market. The house was a great fit, so we committed to making an offer the minute it hit the MLS.
We offered full price with terms favorable to the seller, who accepted right away as she was motivated to move and didn’t want a bunch of people tramping through her house. Pouncing quickly and decisively was the key to success.
You can also avoid bidding wars by reaching out to owners in your target neighborhood to see if they want to sell, or you can work with listing agents directly as they may be more motivated to get you the deal, if they can double-end it.
Another way to avoid bidding wars is to circle back to homes that have been sitting on the market for a while, or you can wait for the holiday season when markets traditionally slow and sellers get more serious.
These are just a few ways to avoid bidding wars in hot markets, and sharing strategies like these is one way I help my clients avoid overpaying in the heat of the moment.
If you want to go from renting to owning with clarity and confidence so that you can build wealth, control your environment, and enjoy the comforts of home or book a strategy session.
About Diane Cohn
Diane Cohn runs a mastermind for female breadwinners who want to go from renting to owning with clarity and confidence so that they can build wealth, control their environment, and enjoy the comforts of home. A prior top-producing Realtor, real estate industry marketing executive, and housing market commentator on YouTube, she has profitably bought and sold property in every kind of market over 30+ years.