Maggie Clemens | Real Estate Corner
With the shortage of homes on the market and still unprecedented low mortgage rates, buying a home in San Diego County can be quite a challenge in today’s market. Even when you have found that ideal home, the next step is to get your offer accepted. The trick is to make your offer stand out above all of the other offers. Here are some practical steps you can take.
Working with a proactive agent is a must in this market, because now more than ever, it can come down to who you know. A lot of properties are sold even before they land on the Multiple Listing Service (MLS). If your agent is not a full-time agent who is networking with other professionals in the business, you could be putting in many offers before finally getting one accepted.
Next you must be prepared in several areas:
1. Know the area you want to live in. Once you have narrowed down the area or neighborhood you want to live in, you are better prepared to jump when the right house comes on the market. Also, your agent can contact agents that are well established in that area to see about listings that are coming on the market soon. You should have at least two areas or neighborhoods you would consider living in to widen your options.
2. Be pre-approved with your mortgage lender. It is not enough to be pre-qualified anymore. Pre-approval means that you have actually filled out a loan application and given the lender the required paperwork, such as paystubs, bank account information, etc. Once they have looked at it they are able to give you a “Pre-approval Letter.” I strongly recommend working with a lender that will not only give you a pre-approval but an “underwritten approval.” That is the next step where the lender’s underwriting department has actually verified all of the information. Having this approval is like walking around with a check in your pocket and you are now able to compete with cash buyers.
3. Sell your home first. If you need to sell your present home before purchasing another, then get it sold with the contingency that you must find suitable housing first. You will be coming from a much stronger position when you can write an offer that states your current home is not only on the market now, but is already sold. With the shortage of inventory in todays’ market, your buyer will be patient.
4. Have extra cash. If you find a house you really want and you are ready to make an offer you should consider offering extra cash over the appraised value. A lender will only give you a loan for the appraised value, but if you are willing to pay cash over that value your offer will carry a lot more weight.
5. Be on call. When I looked on the MLS today there were only 4,500 active listings in all of San Diego County. In a “normal” market there is anywhere between 20,000 to 25,000 homes on the market. So when your agent calls you, be ready to go!
Be patient, be persistent and be prepared. Happy house hunting!
Maggie Clemens served her customers with distinction for over 25 years in the local auto industry and for the last several years has been a licensed real estate agent with Keller Williams San Diego Metro. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or at maggieclemens.com.