3 Tips for Home Shoppers This Spring

With shrinking inventories and more competition, buyers are finding they have less negotiating power in today’s market. CNNMoney recently highlighted some of the following tips to help home buyers be more successful in their purchases this spring:

1. Lowball offers are a waste of time: “The days when you could scoop up a house for 20 percent less than the list price are long gone,” the article notes. Homes are selling much closer to their asking price nowadays, surveys show. Michael Murphree, a real estate professional in Birmingham, Ala., says he advises his clients that if homes are selling below the list price in an area but are still being sold in less than two months to make an offer that is no more than 2 to 3 percent below the asking price. If homes are selling above the listing price, Murphree advises clients to make their first offer at the full asking price.

2. How to win a bidding war: To do that, agents say come with a higher price and fewer contingencies, and be flexible with when you can move in. In some transactions, the sellers could be left trying to find new housing for themselves, so some real estate professionals suggest leaving the closing date blank on the contract and allow the seller to fill it in, or be willing to negotiate a leaseback if the seller needs more time to vacate.

3. Shop around for financing: Credit unions and small banks tend to offer the lowest rates and may even be less strict about their underwriting, Guy Cecala, publisher of Inside Mortgage Finance, told CNNMoney. Cecala recommends getting a good-faith estimate from one lender and then showing it to other lenders to see if they can beat it.

Source: “Housing Is Back! Best Moves for Home Buyers,” CNNMoney (April 8, 2013)

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