The real estate market in Charlotte has the lowest levels of inventory of homes… EVER. With only 1.3 months of inventory available, while a health amount is considered to be 6 to 9 months of inventory. So, there aren’t enough homes available, most that are put up for sale are selling in a mere number of hours and prices well over the asking price.
So what’s a home buyer to do?
First, be prepared. Meet your real estate agent face-to-face to discuss what the homebuying process is going to look like and let them guide you through the process. Start by discussing your needs for a house, things you would like but are negotiable, and then shop for a lender.
Do your homework. Just because you have a banking relationship with an organization does not mean that they’re going to give you the best rates. Shop around and find the product that works best for you and your situation. Your real estate agent may have suggestions, I have relationships with a handful of local lenders and I give them business because I like how THEY do business and how they take care of my clients.
Know your strategy. With most home sales going into multiple-offer scenarios it’s best to understand how you’re going to make your offer stand out and where your drop-dead point is before you fall in love with a property. What works for you and your finances? What’s your maximum price? What’s your maximum fixer upper threshold? Work with your real estate agent to plan how this all works into your offer. I’ve seen many sellers no longer calling for “highest and best” offers, so it’s advantageous to put your best foot forward as a buyer with your initial offer.
Evaluate. What would happen if you signed, sealed and delivered this offer and you didn’t win? How would you feel tomorrow? Would you wish that you flexed on something? Do you wish you gave up on asking for that $400 home warranty? If so, clean up your offer before it goes out. The less things you ask for from the seller the better off you’ll be.
Have your ducks in a row. This goes along with understanding your offer strategy. Make sure you have proof of funds for any liquid money that you’ll be including in the purchase. And have a pre-qualification letter from your lender, if your lender offers a loan program that looks at all of your income and expense documentation to better ensure that you qualify, do it! And make sure that your agent and the seller understand that you’re already fully underwritten at the time of contract.
Be ready to make a choice. Things move quick, so there may not be days to think about any one decision. So understand what your walk-away point is. Just because a seller counters your offer, doesn’t mean that you have to rise to the occasion. If your best offer was your original offer, feel comfortable and confident in standing by that. If it breaks a deal, than that deal wasn’t meant for you anyway.