How to buy a home in a seller’s market, i.e. How to keep hope alive in a multi-bid war

Hello readers,

I recently won the privilege of receiving a contract on a home and now I am working through the process of owning it.  Yes, you read this correctly.  In a sellers market, there is no such thing as “buying a house.”  No, my friends, that genteel courtesy went out the window the minute buyers hit the street visiting (or not visiting) houses that went on the market exactly one or two days.  In a sellers market, be prepared for others to offer bids (without even seeing the homes) just because they like the zip code.  Yes, it’s really that bad but you can survive.  I did.  I started my search the ending of February and my tactics adapted as the market changed.  So, to help you through the process, here are some very valuable tips along the way to purchasing your home.

1.  Be patient.

Yes, this is really hard to do because you want a house and you want it now.  In a sellers market, you will make offers and then find out there are five others behind also submitting offers.  Or, your realtor will call you hours later and tell you it is now a multi bid deal- bring your highest and best offer.  Or, you will find yourself in the same predicament as I did a few weeks ago when I stood inside a beautiful home that had been on the market only 2 days and, while standing inside the front door of the home, my realtor got a phone call and informed me the sellers just got an offer.

2.  When you fall down, pick yourself back up.  Tomorrow is another day with new houses on the market.

After each of my offers was rejected, I sat down, screamed aloud or had a good long cry, vented to my husband I would never find a house and then the next day I went back online searching for anything new in my price range.  In a sellers market, you have to be diligent with your search.  It is tiring and hard work, yes, but if you don’t search every day someone else will come along and snatch up the houses.  Once the house is on the market and it seems to be a match with what you want, call your realtor right then and there- don’t hesitate- and schedule to see the home that very day.

3.  Don’t wait to make an offer

If the house fits and you can see yourself in it, make a quick decision.  Don’t wait, don’t hesitate because the next day the seller could accept an offer and the house could be off the market.  I made this error with a house recently.  I shuffled my feet and waited because of some wiring issues and the next day it was snatched up when I made my mind to move forward on it.  Don’t have any regrets.  If you like it, make an offer…right now.

4.  Have someone to vent to

Lean on a friend or relative because a sellers market will actually drain you.  You need all your friends in your corner to renew your energy and faith so you can “fight again tomorrow.”  Because a sellers market will have you doing just that- fighting and coming up with clever tactics you’ve never thought of before to win a house.  It will have you offering much more than the listing price so you can outbid others, but be careful that the house will appraise at your going rate.  You don’t want to be stuck in a ‘flimsy’ contract.  Sometimes, if you’re lucky like me, you become friends with your realtor and your realtor will let you vent.  After all, your realtor has seen it all and, more than likely, gone through the process of purchasing their own homeor home(s).  They feel your pain.  However, don’t abuse your realtor.  Most times, though, you can bend their ear.  My realtor definitely got an earful from me…  But I have to state here that she is the most awesome, highly knowledgeable realtor I know.  She always “had my back” and, luckily for me, she took everything in stride and reminded me to not give up.  I have fun stories of houses we’ve seen together that either she or I ended up running out of the home because it was disgusting or terrifying.  It was her goal to find me a home and, bless her, she did.

5.  Remember:  It’s business, not personal

This is very important but hard to remember as weeks turn into months and your offers get rejected left and right.  It takes time to sign all the pieces of paper that create a contract just to have the seller dismiss your hard work.  And if you think that’s bad, just try putting in an offer on a foreclosure and dealing with the bank who, most times, will only gloss over the amount of money you are willing to pay and go with the highest bidder.  They don’t know that you really like the house but have limited funds and are trying to move in a family including your aging parents who, due to health problems, need you to help them.  Noooo….  The highest bid wins in this situation, hands down.  If you don’t have the extra cash and/or you don’t like the idea of competing, then stay away from foreclosures- I did.

6.  Celebrate when your contract is accepted

Getting a contract in a sellers market is like getting the golden ticket to Willy Wonka’s Factory.   It needs to be celebrated- best with a glass of wine or a cocktail in hand.  Whatever you do, pat yourself on the back because you made it.  You survived and that needs to be celebrated.  Now it’s just a matter of coordination and tons of paperwork but, hopefully, it will end with you owning the “American Dream.”

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