It’s no secret that the last year of the pandemic has caused a housing shortage in the U.S. Unfortunately, over a year has come and gone, yet this shortage hasn’t budged. In fact, it seems to be getting worse as many people start to panic-buy and offer well-over asking prices to secure a home in their desired area.
With such an increase in demand for houses, this has become a seller’s market, and it can be hard to keep up with the next buyer who has cash-in-hand or who’s willing to pay more overall. Thankfully there are some strategies you can use to make securing a home easier and less stressful for you.
Get ahead of the game
Having a plan and sticking to it is very important when wanting to purchase a home, regardless of a housing shortage. First thing’s first – you need to get prequalified. This is the very beginning step of buying a house, and many people try to skip right through it and get to house-hunting. Prequalifying for a home gives you some insight into what you can afford and how much more you can offer compared to the asking price. It can also be beneficial to sellers if you provide proof that you have been prequalified because it shows them that they don’t have to wait as long to close.
Another way that you can plan ahead is to know the exact city and area you want to purchase a home in and stick to it. This is no time to be picky or uncertain about where you want to live. Also having an idea of the type of house you want (ie. number of bedrooms, style, etc.) can be beneficial in your house-hunting journey.
Make quick decisions
One thing to make note of is that with a housing shortage, there isn’t really a lot of time to sit on the decision of buying a house. In an ideal world, you would have a week or so to think about the pros and cons of each house and how much you want to offer when you find a house you think is potentially a good fit. Alas, you’ll need to make an offer immediately once the house goes on the market, so there won’t be much time to “sit on it.” Unfortunately, this also means you might be putting an offer in before even looking at the home in person.
Thankfully, if your offer gets accepted, there is an option period for you to take a look at the house if you haven’t done so already. It also gives you the opportunity to back out with no penalties if you are having second thoughts.
Write a personal letter along with your offer
If you find yourself in love with a home, but you aren’t willing to offer too much over the asking price, a great tactic is writing a letter to the seller. The key is to make it personalized, calling out specifics about the home that made you fall in love and talk about why you’d love to call it your own home. This can sometimes tug at the heartstrings of a seller, especially if they have an emotional connection to the home and don’t want it to go to just anyone. It never hurts to try, and you never know, the outcome could very well be in your favor.
This type of market can make anyone discouraged about buying a house. It’s always an ebb and flow – one year, there’s a shortage, and the next, it’s a buyer’s market. The housing market is ever-changing, but the key is to be patient and wait out for something that comes at you for a great price and something that won’t break the bank in the future.