This is a tough time for buyers in Central Florida and around the country. While most of the economy slowed during the pandemic, the housing market took off like a rocket, responding to over a decade of fewer new builds and low resale inventory. Now buyers find themselves in a race to the next home…bidding higher and higher and offering better terms just to get a home they sort of like. This process doesn’t have to be so stressful. Below I’ve outlined some tips to help you stay on track, and keep calm while you’re in the race.
Set clear expectations
Know what you need…and what you just want. Sure, you’d love to have travertine flooring and high ceilings and maybe a professional Wolf range. But are those really must-haves for your family? It’s a great practice to write down everything you’d love to have in your home, and then pick 3-5 things that are absolute musts. Be very clear with your Realtor® about these items, and make sure you set up your search with ONLY these criteria. The less criteria there is to enter into a search, the more homes you’ll find that will fit your needs.
Don’t forget to revisit your needs list as you move forward. Last year, just as the market was heating up, we had clients who wanted a pool home. They searched and searched and lost out on 5 homes with pools and became discouraged. We knew that if they just changed their criteria a little bit and looked for homes that maybe had a community pool, there would be dozens more homes that would fit. With just one tweak to their search, we were able to help them find an amazing home in a neighborhood with a private natural spring, AND a beautiful community pool. They love their home and their neighborhood, and don’t even miss having a pool in their backyard.
Strategize with your lender and agent
Your Realtor® should have a great relationship with your lender. These two parties have to be on the same page in order to find you the right home and to make sure you can present a competitive offer. Get on a conference call, Zoom, or have coffee together so that you all can make sure that you’re searching in the right price range, and to see if there are any special lending programs out there that will help you win the home you choose. Be prepared to lower the price range of your search so you can offer better terms – perhaps be ready to bring cash to the closing table if a home doesn’t appraise at the offer price.
Even though there is an inventory shortage, homes are still coming on the market every day. Set up your custom search (or map search), and take it with you by downloading our app. Then let the search work for you. And ask your Realtor® to do some extra prospecting in the neighborhoods you like. We can reach out to neighbors and ask if they are willing to sell. Just because a home isn’t on the market, doesn’t mean it’s not for sale for the right price.
Let people know you’re looking for a home! According to the National Association of Realtors®, last year, 6% of homebuyers were led to their home by a friend or relative, and 3% of buyers found their home through the seller’s network. There were 3,872 homes sold last month through the Orlando Regional Realtor Association – that means that statistically nearly 350 of those homes were sold through networking. That’s not a small number!
It can be frustrating and discouraging looking for a home in this market, so it’s important to have someone by your side to advocate for you and make sure you get the right home at the right time. Give me a call…I’d love to make this a positive experience for your family!
Don’t go into your home search unprepared for the process. Our team has spent years developing a comprehensive guide to help our buyers navigate the complicated process of defining home search criteria, choosing a home, and closing on that home. Click here to receive a FREE Home Buyer Guide – your roadmap for purchasing a home.
Get pre-approved with a lender who will be in constant communication with you and your Realtor®. After years of working with many different lenders, our team has partnered with America’s Money Source so that our buyers have access to the best lending team possible.