Buying Your First Home? Put Your Best Foot Forward
After weeks or even months of pounding the pavement, many first-time home buyers have experienced the disappointment of bidding on that perfect house, only to lose out to someone who stepped in with a better offer. Since the housing market has rebounded, the competition for affordable starter homes can be intense, but that doesn’t mean you can’t compete. Here are some tips to help you win the “bidding wars.”
First, do your homework
Look at comparable home sales in the neighborhoods you’re interested in. Check out websites like trulia.com
, and talk to a real estate agent familiar with the area. This will help you gauge the market and come up with a reasonable price range for the neighborhood, size and condition of the house.
It’s easy to get carried away if you truly love the home, especially if others are interested. Knowing a reasonable price range can help you avoid overbidding. Make sure that, whatever you offer, it is not so low as to not be taken seriously or so high that you win the house, but pay more than the market demands. Next, determine your strategyHere are some tips that may increase your chances of winning the bid:
- Offer a flexible closing date. Many home sellers need time to close on the homes they are buying, or perhaps they are moving out of town on a specific date. Sellers may be more inclined to choose your offer if you can accommodate their closing date schedule.
- Reduce or avoid contingencies. Contingencies are conditions that must be met in order for the sale to go through. As a first-time homebuyer, you have an advantage over buyers who might include a contingency based on their own home sale. A contingency based on a successful inspection of the home is a good idea, but schedule the inspection quickly, particularly if the seller is anxious to close on the deal.
- Put as much down as possible. This makes you look like the more serious buyer. Bonus: A down payment of at least 20 percent will avoid the need to pay for mortgage insurance.
- Get prequalified/pre-approved. Buyers who have been preapproved for a mortgage are more attractive to the seller, because preapproval means the sale is less likely to fall through due to failure to obtain financing.
- Write a letter. This one is a long shot, but a short, personal note to the homeowner explaining why you love the house could tip the balance in your favor.
We’ll help you get home
Rockland Trust has lenders who specialize in first time home buyers
and has a range of fixed-
mortgages and can help you determine the type and term of mortgage best suited to your situation. We can also help you arrange financing through programs
such as the Federal Housing Administration (FHA), Mass Housing, Massachusetts Housing Partnership (MHP) and VA loans, if you qualify. Call 508-732-7072 today to speak with one of our loan officers.
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