Let's face it. The property market in Dallas is tight right now, with buyer bidding agains bidder and a lot of sellers laughing all the way to the bank. So what can you do, aside from over paying for your new home, to ensure that you don't lose your dream home to another buyer?
1. Make sure you are pre-approved for your loan!
It may seem like common sense, but you'd be suprised how many buyers are wasting time looking at homes, when they should be sorting out their finances, grooming their credit score and working on getting a sparkling-clean pre-approval from a reputable mortgage company. Looking at homes, while it seems backwards, should be the LAST thing on your list.
2. Get pre-approved by the RIGHT mortgage company
This follows on from the first point, but may suprise you. If you REALLY want a home, and don't want to see your contract fall apart before you get to closing, we implore you, nay, BEG you, please don't get a mortgage pre-approval from the "big" banks. Most of their loan officers have minimal experience, their underwriting processes are inefficient, illogical and downright lengthy, and from our experience they never close on time, which could cause you to default on a contract and lose a home. If I see a pre-approval from a bank that rhymes with Smells Nargo, Mank of Danerica, or Face. I burn it. On the spot. For your own sake, no matter what your current bank promises you, go local with a reputable mortage broker.
3. Use a Buyer's Agent
You can save money by not using a buyer's agent right, because the seller has to pay less commission? WRONG. The seller still pays the same amount of commission to the listing agent for selling the home, they just get to keep all of it. And when they're getting 6% of the sales price, you can bet they're going to push for a high-price from you, the buyer. The listing agent in this situation represents the seller ONLY, so will not be looking after your best interests. Also, as a listing agent I am always wary of offers from self-represented buyers as I know nothing about them, and (see above) they often are not pre-approved. I'll stick with a well-qualified buyer with an agent any day, even if it means I get less commission.
4. Have your agent set up a "listing alert" for you!
We love technology, as it makes everything easier for our agents but also our customers. If you haven't already registered for a search account I recommend you do it immediately. As in now. When you're searching for the perfect home in a tough market like this, you need to know about new properties as soon as they come on the market. Our system, and many like it, will notify you as soon as property that matches your criteria comes on the market. It also lets you setup showings instantly, so you can get in to see your dream home ASAP, and hopefully make a successful offer!
5. Remember, there is not "set price" for a home
Which brings me to my final point. There is a conception among a lot of people, and even Realtors, that if a house is listed at X dollars, then the seller will accept X-10%, or 5%. Unfortunately this is not true, especially nowadays. In the UK (where I used to live) the list price for a home is actually called a "guide price", and homes routinely sell for way more than that. Any good buyers agent will advise you to make an offer based on the true value of the home, not what it's listed for. Unfortuantely there are a lot of "part-time" Realtors around, and Aunt Sally the Agent may have listed her niece's home for $200K, when it's actually worth $225K and there are competing bidders in the marketwho will happily pay up to that amount for ut. It's often hard to stomach paying full-price, or even over list, but remember, a good buyer's agent will make sure you get the home you want at a GOOD PRICE. Don't overpay, but don't lose out on your dream home either.
I hope this has been helpful, especially for your first-time homebuyers. So don't be nervouse, get your ducks in a row, find a good buyers agent and find your dream home! Oh, and by the way, you can find a great agent just by calling our office at (214) 754 7040. Just in case, you know, you're looking for the perfect home.