Home-buying in the Winter will be different this year, here’s what you need to know …Return to Blog
Seasoned home buyers know that winter is usually the right time to begin househunting since many of their competitors wait until spring. But this winter, buyers may notice that despite the cooler temps and the holidays, they’ve got company — in fact, lots of it. COVID-19 kept buyers on lockdown for most of the spring season, so many are making up for the lost time by home shopping aggressively now.
Because of that, this winter is shaping up to be a seller’s market, with low real estate inventory, high prices, and bidding wars that could give new buyers seasoned competition. But buyers should not give up on purchasing this season. They’ll have to house hunt in new ways to win their homes. Here are a few strategies that will keep you ahead of the competition to get you in a new home by the new year.
Know what you want before you house hunt
We’re spending much more time at home due to the coronavirus, and people are looking for different features and amenities in their living spaces. Make a list of your must-haves before you start your home search, and make sure you share those needs with your real estate agent. That will help minimize the number of homes you’ll have to view before finding the right one.
Secure your financing as soon as possible
Getting pre-approved for a mortgage and securing financing is important clearly — it’s an essential first step when buying a home. It gives you a clear picture of how much house you can afford and lets you make an offer as soon as you find your dream home. Too often, buyers don’t line up their financing until they find a home they want to buy. But in this challenging and competitive market, waiting to get pre-approval means you could lose out on purchasing a home you love.
Securing your financing sooner can also help you acquire an ultralow interest rate, which could affect your monthly mortgage payment and help you afford homes that may exceed your budget.
Tour homes virtually before in person
Virtual tours and remote-showings have become the “new normal” to showcase properties and ease coronavirus safety concerns. In some cases, Realtors are limiting in-person showings to the most serious buyers—those with financing already secured, for example.
Realtors are adjusting to the client’s needs by providing in-person showings with safety precautions and guiding homebuyers virtually with their purchases. Virtual home tours, using Zoom or FaceTime, and 3D Tours using Asteroom or Matterport let you view the home from anywhere! So you can narrow down the homes you’re most interested in and only physically visit the ones that best meet your requirements.
“Strike while the iron is hot” if you want to make an offer!
There were nearly 40% fewer homes on the market in September of this year than the same month in 2019. But during that time, buyer demand has increased, creating a very aggressive competitive marketplace. We felt this increased demand with Darryl Glass receiving offers between 3 and 6 days for homes priced within $645k-$1.1M during September.
Send an offer they can’t resist
Since inventory is so low, sellers are getting multiple offers on their homes these days — and your bid needs to stand out. Some appealing offers include but are not limited to cash offers and inspection waivers. Those offers are attractive to sellers because it eliminates dealing with a mortgage lender, often speeds up closings, and removes any repair negotiations to help you close faster. Though, inspection waivers come with lots of risks since you agree to purchase a home as-is.
You may also want to consider talking to your agent about escalation clauses, which may “sweeten the pot” for some sellers. That is a contract addendum where you agree to pay more than other offers (up to the maximum you set). You’ll be competing directly with many buyers this season, and the bottom line is you’ll have to strategize to help make your offer stand out amongst your competition.
If you have questions or need assistance in your home buying or selling process this season, call or text Darryl Glass at (510) 500-7531 today. If more convenient, you may also schedule a call or virtual meeting with Darryl below: