Trying to buy a home in ultra-competitive markets like San Francisco, DC, or Denver can be a challenge for anyone. You realize that once you find your perfect house, your home bid will likely compete against all-cash offers. What many prospective homeowners do not know is that there are a number of strategies you can take to increase your odds of winning your home bid and securing the house of your dreams.
Hot Markets Equal High Stress
Everyone wants a good deal. Unfortunately, in a hot market it can be extremely difficult to find that great deal and paying over the asking price sometimes turns into the norm. Some DC neighborhoods are prime examples of this as some buyers haven’t been able to secure the home they want and simply have settled for something close enough, while still overpaying.
Other buyers will avoid bidding wars and will go to extremes just to win their home bid at any cost. A house in San Francisco went under contract in 2 days and sold for $1M over asking.
The shocking truth that most new homebuyers face is that even if you win your home bid, you still aren’t guaranteed to successfully purchase your new home. In addition to the inspection, appraisal and title checks, there’s still one more hurdle to cross - finalizing your financing. A slow process or one with mistakes can put the entire deal in jeopardy.
If you’re a repeat homebuyer, you’ll have a leg up when competing against affluent millennials in search of their first home. By selling an existing home, you have hopefully been able to capture the home appreciation that comes with hot markets. In turn, this means that you may be able to make a larger down payment than many first time homebuyers, which strengthens your ability to secure financing.
Regardless of your ownership history, there are a few ways buyers can ensure the financing process goes off without a hitch.
Positioning Yourself To Win The Bid
After you’ve found a home that looks like a good value, there are several strategies you can use to position yourself to win the home bid.
1) Establish strong financing.
One of the best ways to establish strong financing is to make a cash-like offer. This doesn’t mean that you will pay cash for your new home, but rather that you will not include a mortgage contingency with your home bid. In a hot market, a cash-like offer might not warrant a discount, but it can definitely move you ahead of everyone else.
Another option is securing a pre-approval letter. This shows that a lender expects to be able to give you a loan, based on the information you have provided them. In general, pre-approval letters vary in strength depending on how much of your financial information has been validated prior to issuing the letter.
The industry standard pre-approval is generally issued after the lender checks your credit score and has verbally discussed your income and assets. However, they have not fully vetted your financial situation nor confirmed that it meets all of the criteria for securing a loan.
Very few lenders are able to verify your complete financial situation prior to the homebuyer making an offer on a home. Neat Capital uses proprietary technology and is therefore among the few that are able to achieve this. We offer a Platinum Pre-Approval for qualified clients, which differs from a traditional pre-approval because it is a full commitment to a loan. This strength in financing puts you in equal standing as an all-cash offer as you can elect to exclude a financing contingency with your home bid.
2) Close Quickly.
Being able to close faster than your competition can help you finalize the sale. Median days on the market in hot markets such as Seattle has dropped from 192 in February of 2011 to only 12 in November 2017. Being able to close faster than your competition is compelling in the eyes of the seller. It not only gives them confidence in your ability to close, but also allows them more flexibility with their next move. This frees us their equity sooner and likely saves them additional days of mortgage interest, property and insurance costs.
3) Align with the seller’s goals.
Understand what the seller is trying to get out of the transaction besides just selling the home. If the seller’s needs aren’t a big issue for you, make sure they know you’ll meet those needs. This will speed up the process and makes things simpler for the seller.
Susan Paul, owner of Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate Move Time Realty in Scottsdale, Arizona, says “your buyer’s agent should talk to the listing agent to find out what is motivating the sellers and what they need — such as a quick settlement or a post-settlement rent-back. Be flexible, and work that into your offer. Make it as easy on the sellers as possible so your offer is chosen above 15 others.”
4) Provide a larger down payment.
If you can do it, a larger down payment will show the seller that you are serious and have the financial backing to prove that you’ll fly to the closing table.
While it may seem daunting, buying the home you want in a hot market can be done. Using the tips we’ve discussed can go a long way to helping you seal the deal.
Just because you aren’t able to make a cash offer doesn’t mean that you are out of the game. Neat Capital enables homebuyers to secure financing that competes against all-cash offers. Even better, we are ready to close loans in an average of 15 days, which is about 3x faster than other lenders. Gain confidence in your financing and start planning your move!
Ready to get started? Secure your financing with us by applying now or speaking with one of our lending professionals. Still trying to figure out what you can afford? Try our Affordability Calculator today.