While it’s smart to casually begin checking out open houses and considering your ideal moving timeline, several critical factors may compel you to get a well informed buying strategy in place right out of the gate. Here’s what to know:
Start right now
The sooner we get you informed about the market and your options within it, the better equipped you’ll be to efficiently plan for the coming months. You’ll get clear on what’s valuable to you in a home and location, and—very important—what strategies you’d use to compete in that location.
Get preapproved first
Knowing how much you can afford will tell us where to look and how to structure our strategy. For example, how would you compete with a cash offer that also has very strong terms? We want to talk numbers, funding sources, and scenarios ahead of time and then point you to desirable neighborhoods where you can compete. (Remember that getting a preapproval doesn’t commit you to anything, and we can easily revise it.)
Avoid spring competition, if you need to
Though the spring market launches by early February, the peak period of competition among buyers is April through June, leading to the highest prices and riskiest terms. The urgent demands around the academic calendar and the September 1 lease period drive fierce competition. If you’re buying with less than 20% down, it may be impossible to compete in some locations. Can you make your choice ahead of that?
Don’t wait for inventory to pick up
Inventory will be tight year-round. While we think of spring as the time for open houses, know that there’s still likely to be relatively little inventory for buyers to choose from even then (as has been the case for the past three springs). If you see something that may fit, go after it.
Find your leverage
Once we’ve brainstormed what latitude you have—on price, downpayment and deposits, and time frame—we can come up with an approach that gives you the best edge. For instance, if you can afford to extend your current lease, you can offer that move-date flexibility to a seller in your offer. Or if you’ve got the flexibility to act before or after the spring, it could be worth a lease break. Let’s talk now to get you well prepared to win the home you want.