Increase your chances of getting your dream house instead of losing it to another buyer, with these easy steps.
- Get prequalified for a mortgage. You’ll be able to make a firm commitment to buy and make your offer more desirable to the seller.
- Stay in close touch with your real estate sales associate to find out first about new listings that come on the market. And be ready to go see a house as soon as it goes on the market.
- Scout out new listings yourself. Look at Internet sites, newspaper ads, and drive by the neighborhood frequently. Maybe you’ll see a brand-new “for sale” sign before anyone else.
- Be ready to make a decision. Spend lots of time in advance deciding what you must have so you won’t be unsure when you have the chance to make an offer.
- Bid competitively. You may not want to start out offering the absolute highest price you can afford, but don’t try to go too low to get a deal. In a tight market, you’ll lose out.
- Keep contingencies to a minimum. Restrictions such as needing to sell your home before you move or wanting to delay the closing until a certain date can make your offer unappealing. In a tight market, you’ll probably be able to sell your house rapidly. Or talk to your lender about getting a bridge loan to cover both mortgages for a short period.
- Don’t get caught in a buying frenzy. Just because there’s competition doesn’t mean you should just buy anything. And even though you want to make your offer attractive, don’t neglect inspections that help ensure that your house is sound.
The Pros and Cons of Condos
Condominiums and townhouses offer an affordable option to single-family homes in most areas. But consider these facts before you buy.
- Storage. Some condos have storage lockers, but usually there are no attics or basements to store belongings.
- Outdoor space. Yards and outdoor areas are usually smaller in condos, so if you like to garden or entertain outdoors, this may not be a good fit. However, if you hate yard work, this may be the perfect option for you.
- Amenities. Many condo properties have swimming pools, fitness centers, and other facilities that would be very expensive in a single-family home.
- Maintenance. Many condos have onsite maintenance personnel to care for common areas, do repairs in your unit, and let in workers when you’re not home.
- Security. Many condos have keyed entries and or even door attendants. Plus, you’ll be closer to other people in case of an emergency.
- Reserve funds and association fees. Although fees generally help pay for amenities and provide savings for future repairs, you will have to pay the fees agreed to by the condo board, whether or not you’re interested in the amenity or not.
- Resale. The ease of selling your unit is more dependent on what else is for sale in your building, since units are usually fairly similar. Single-family homes usually are more individual.
- Freedom. Although you have a vote, the rules of the condo association can affect your ability to use your property. For example, some condos prohibit home-based businesses. Others prohibit pets. Read the covenants, restrictions, and bylaws of the condo carefully before you make an offer.
- Proximity. You’re much closer to your neighbors in a condo or townhome. If possible, try to meet your closest prospective neighbors before making a decision.