With mortgage rates at record lows and rents on the upswing, home buyers in Los Angeles and Pasadena are shopping with a renewed energy not seen since the heady days of 2006. This means increased competition for the best homes in our neighborhood and lots of frustrated buyers making offer after offer and wondering why they never win.
How to make sure you are one of the lucky ones and get to move into that gorgeous midcentury with the walls of glass?
1. Be online. A dedicated buyer’s agent should be sending you new listings and status updates on homes that match your wishlist…frequently. The most successful buyers approach house hunting aggressively and are often the first ones to get into the newest listings.
Is it critical to respond to emails quickly and be available to check out a home you love before Sunday’s open house. Too many buyers arrive with their agent on Sunday only to learn that the home already has an accepted offer, “but we are looking for backups.” Avoid disappointment and make sure your agent has the same sense of urgency that you do.
2. Don’t worry about what the other offers are. Make the strongest offer you are comfortable with and rest easy. Strong offers include a short inspection period, quick closing, and a fair price. A savvy agent will be able to strategize creative techniques to incorporate into your offer that others will likely not have considered.
For example, if the sellers have not yet found their new home, why not offer to let them stay in the home for an additional month while they search? One client recently won an amazing home with nine other offers this way!
3. Choose your agent and lender wisely. Even if your aunt in Rancho Cucamonga is an agent, work with a well-known, local, and respected realtor. When two offers are very close, the winner will likely be the one that the seller’s agent knows and feels most comfortable with. This advice also applies to your choice of lender. A buyer who is working with a local, trusted mortgage broker will typically be preferred to one who is using an unknown, untested one. If your agent is tapped into the local market, they will be able to put you in the best hands to secure a loan.
4. Don’t discount the power of the Old-Fashioned personal touch. A letter accompanying your offer can make all the difference. Did you notice a bunch of books on yoga when you visited the home? Mention it if you are a yoga instructor! Make your offer stand out and give the sellers a glimpse into the real person behind the paper.
Some sellers are emotionally attached to their home and want it to sell to someone they can envision loving it as they did. A recent buyer purchased a home in the trendy neighborhood of Los Feliz for well under the asking price simply because the seller had a dream that it sold to a family with three boys like theirs…you never know!
5. Be aware of open house etiquette. As many people as we meet, we realtors often have an uncanny knack for connecting faces and names. If you happen to meet the seller’s agent at a private showing or open house, remember that they are an extension of the seller you are trying to woo. Being polite, friendly, and enthusiastic is always remembered.
Leave it to your agent to ask the probing questions! And don’t be afraid to express how much you love the home if, in fact, you do. House hunting is not like buying a car where it is best to keep your excitement under wraps— when all is said and done, a seller values the buyer that they feel is most passionate and motivated to complete the sale.