How to House Hunt in a Seller’s Market

Are you a home-buyer in a seller’s market? You’ll know it if the homes in your area are selling rapidly, and for more than the seller’s asked for. Be prepared to outwit, outlast, and outbid the buyers you’re competing against. Although it isn’t quite like an episode of Survivor, knowing the rules to the game of a seller’s market will help you attain the prize, your new home.

Take Your Search Seriously

In a seller’s market, buyers can’t look for homes casually. In order to find something and actually buy it check listings often, and try to see potential homes as soon as the sellers will allow. If you find something you like, make your offer quickly.

The Proof is in the Paperwork

Sellers want to know you have the funds to buy their house. Make sure you have the correct documentation to prove this right away. A pre-approval letter, and “proof of funds” from your bank are a starting place, but you may even be asked to send a picture of the earnest money check, and show all of your assets and liabilities.

Consider Your Contingencies

In order to get your offer accepted, you have to think like a seller. They want to sell their house, preferably for more than they asked (hey, it is a seller’s market after all), and with as little trouble as possible. Your offer may include contingencies based on inspection, HOA, financing, or title. Consider leaving some of the lesser contingencies out of your offer.

Sweeten the Deal

Price negotiations rarely happen in a seller’s market. Offering below asking price could end up wasting your time. An offer that is at or above the asking price is more likely to be considered. Make sure to balance your offer with what your budget will allow you to do.

Explore Nearby

Prime locations are hotspots for seller’s markets, they sell fastest. If you’re unable to find a home in in one of these areas, try expanding your search to include surrounding areas, or lesser known neighborhoods. You may find your dream home where you least expected.


Source: “Surviving a Seller’s Market: The Ultimate Cheat Sheet,”® (April 7,2016)