5 Tips for Buying in a Busy Market

In a market like this, houses can sell quickly and you need to be ready to act fast when the right property becomes available.  At the same time, there are more houses available during this time of year and it is important not to suffer from ‘paralysis by analysis’. Everyone gets tired trying to look at 10 open homes in one crazy Sunday afternoon and it is impossible to accurately remember or get a feel for a home when you race through it in 2 minutes. Here are 5 tips to save you time and help you learn market values faster so you can make a more informed real estate decision.

 1. Decide on your non-negotiables.
These are the key things you are looking for in a new home. Without these features there is very little chance you will buy the home. For me these are: Afternoon sun, off street parking and not too many stairs. Everything else I can live with. What are your non-negotiables? Keep this list as short as possible and simply don’t worry about going to properties that don’t fit your requirements.

2. Call or text before going to open homes.
When you are trying to buy a house one of the most annoying things has got to be driving all the way to an open home and finding out it has been cancelled or sold. Unfortunately with so many advertising mediums involved in marketing property they often aren’t updated quickly enough to save you from this inconvenience. My best advice is to text the agent a day or two before the open home to check whether it is still on. You could also call to check if it meets your non-negotiable requirements and is worth visiting in the first place.

3. Pick 1 area to focus on.
I know the northern suburbs real estate market inside out. However I can’t accurately tell you what a 3 bedroom 60’s home in Upper Hutt will set you back. Every local market is different and trying to become an expert quickly so you can make good buying decisions and avoid paying too much is incredibly difficult if you focus on more than one area. One suburb / area per weekend should be the limit.

4. Ask for recent sales and drive past comparables.
Every time you visit an open home there should be a report showing recent nearby sales available. You should drive past these homes to get an idea of value and see what other buyers are getting for their money. This is the best way to learn the market quickly. Often buyers dismiss this idea, asking “Why would I want to drive past a home that is already sold?” You are about to make the biggest purchase of your life so far and commit to a 25 / 30 year mortgage, isn’t it worth driving around for 20 minutes and doing a little market research before you start making offers?

 5. Ask an agent which homes you should visit.
When you visit an open home, tell the agent your non-negotiables and ask them which other homes you should visit. They might suggest a property you hadn’t considered, or had previously discounted online but which may in fact suit your needs very well. Often buyers will discount a home based on a pricing assumption around an RV. Agents will have a better idea of what homes are likely to actually sell for and can often point out houses you might be to afford which you otherwise may have dismissed.

“It’s hard to beat someone who never gives up.”
– Babe Ruth

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