Must-Know Tips for Home Shopping in a Competitive Market

by Matty ByloosSeptember 18, 2017

We’ve Got the Inside Scoop on How to Buy in a Competitive Market

Whether you are buying your first home or your fifth, searching for real estate in a competitive market can be tricky. And by tricky, we mean incredibly frustrating and potentially tear-inducing—for some of us, at least.

Cities like Portland, Oregon, Boston, Massachusetts, and San Francisco, California have some of the most competitive markets in the country — and aren’t showing any signs of slowing down. Watch the local listings – if you notice very quick sales, multiple offers on houses, and cash offers in abundance, then you are probably living in a competitive market.

To keep your spirits up and your sanity intact while home shopping, we’ve compiled a list of tips on how to deal with housing markets like these from professionals who know the business. Read on to learn a few must-know tips for home shopping in a competitive market.
Couple purchasing home

Advice From a Housing Expert

We asked the principal broker and co-founder of Portland’s Urban Nest Realty Rachel Freed how to succeed in a competitive market. Here are her top tips:

  • Get a great buyer’s agent. Find someone who knows and understands the neighborhoods you are interested in.
  • Make sure the agent doesn’t practice dual agency — this is when an agent represents a buyer and a seller on the same house at the same time. This limits the advice they can give either party, due to a potential conflict of interest. Find someone who will work only for you as a buyer.
  • Be ready to get out there and see houses as soon as they hit the market. The faster you see a house, the faster you can draft an offer.
  • Make sure to have all your financing in place before you start house shopping. There is nothing worse than falling in love with a house before you have that pre-approval letter in hand. Wait until you are really ready to buy before you go out on your first tour.

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Advice From a Recent Home Buyer

Nothing tells the inside story of how to find and buy a home in a competitive real estate market quite like the words of someone who’s recently gone through the experience. Portland local, Nicole Adair, recently purchased her first home with her husband and two-year-old daughter. Her tips for new buyers includes:

  • Most importantly, have all of your paperwork ready to go.
  • Have a very clear list of the things you require in a home, especially if you are buying as a couple. We had a “we definitely need this or we’re staying in the apartment” list.
  • Don’t limit yourself to a small geographic area. Embrace the perks of a longer commute.
  • Write a heartfelt letter to the homeowners. There are still real people out there who want to help a young couple buy their first home. It’s just up to you to find them.
  • Plan to be looking for multiple seasons — if it happens faster, you can be pleasantly surprised.
  • Be at the home inspection and make friends with the inspector. It is always helpful to see the process and have someone you can ask questions.

The Takeaway: How to Buy in a Competitive Market

When shopping in a competitive market, there are a few rules you simply must abide by in order to find your new home. Sales are moving quickly, and you need to be ready to jump when you see the perfect home. This means: do your homework—paperwork, financial information, inspections. Read up and get ready! Hire someone you trust to help you navigate through the process. And never be afraid to speak up.

Contact a local pro who can answer your questions. Don’t be intimidated by a competitive market, start looking for your dream home today.

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About The Author
Matty Byloos
Matty is the Content Marketing Specialist for Homes.com. He's a newly minted homeowner who currently lives in Portland, Oregon with his wife. When he's not working, he enjoys writing fiction, working on the house, and enjoying the amazing nature that the city has to offer. He is also the founder of NOVEL Creative Agency.

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