5 Uncommon Tips for Buying Your Dream Home
Your dream home is out there, but how will you get it when you find it? There are many secrets and tricks-of-the-trade that can help you lock down the home of your dreams, like writing the owners a love letter or offering to pay in cash. In a crowded buyers’ market, however, you may need to take it a step further with an idea that’s even more uncommon—yet potentially effective.
Whether you need to find the home (you know what it looks like, but haven’t found it yet), are struggling to come up with a down payment, or have to convince the buyers to sell to you, these ideas will possibly help you get your dream home. Sometimes the most uncommon tactics are the most powerful, and you won’t know until you try!
Become a Marketer
You know what you want: you have every detail of your dream home in mind, but you haven’t found it quite yet. Instead of spending hours digging through listings online—or doing dozens of home tours, bring the options to you by pinpointing potential neighborhoods and selling yourself as a buyer.
via Got Print
“I suggest doing a mailer to the entire neighborhood or have door knockers visit the streets and meet with the neighbors. You would be surprised how many times a postcard turns into a sold home,” says Jennifer Beeston, VP of Mortgage Lending.
You can use a site like Shutterfly or Vistaprint to create flyers, postcards or mailers on a budget. Use this tactic for any neighborhood you’re interested in and include contact information. You don’t want to give away anything too personal, so create a new email address just for this. If you want to include a number as well, get a Google number, instead of giving out your personal one.
Instead of traditional marketing, Jeff Miller, co-founder of AE Home Group, uses online marketing technology to re-market potential sellers. Ask your agent if they offer anything similar. Miller explains:
“When we make an offer, we provide a link to our website instead of a PDF attachment. When the sellers visit the site to see the offer we tag them with a browser cookie so we know who they are. As they visit their favorite sites like Facebook and Pinterest they receive advertisements talking about how great our offer is and how we can close stress free. This keeps us top of mind and when they click the advertisements they’re sent right back to our offer.”
Put Down Less Than 20%
While a 20 percent down payment is traditionally recommended and preferred, it’s not always possible if your dream home is on the higher end of your budget. If you don’t want to let your dream home slip through your hands, you can put down as low as just 3 to 5 percent and simply make a monthly PMI payment.
PMI stands for Private Mortgage Insurance and here’s what you need to know: “PMI is designed to protect the lender who underwrote your mortgage. It protects them in case you default on the loan and fail to pay the remaining balance and interest fees,” according to The Pros and Cons of PMI, a guide from Unison.
So how does it work? Experts at Unison explain: “Even though the lender takes out the policy and the insurance covers their investment in your property, you as the mortgage borrower must pay the monthly premium.”
Most people cite the monthly payment as the reason to avoid PMI. While not high, it may not be deductible come tax time and doesn’t protect you, as the borrower. However, you can reappraise after you’ve put in enough hard-earned equity to own 20 percent of the home. This means you’re able to affect the amount of time you have to make the PMI payment, which puts much of the power back into your hands. For many people, that makes this a great option.
Get to Know the Owners
In a seller’s market, sellers are most likely getting offers, love letters and other unique presentations from a large number of buyers. Make your offer and presentation stand out by learning about what they love: “When you’re inside your dream home, you have a huge opportunity to learn more about the sellers,” says Liat Tzoubari of Sevensmith.
Tzoubari continues, “Use all your senses to gather information as you walk around the house: does the home have a lot of plants or flowers, do the sellers have kids, do they have a vast wine collection? Pay attention to the personal touches in the home and then take advantage of the information you’ve gathered when putting in your offer such as gifting a unique plant to the sellers or an impressive bottle of wine.”
If need be, take notes on your phone as you walk through the house so you don’t forget any helpful details.
Become a Renter First
This isn’t always an option, but if it is, it could be helpful, especially if you don’t have a down payment saved just yet. Use renting as an opportunity to become a dream tenant and work your way toward buying your dream home, suggests Desare Kohn-Laski, broker and owner of Skye Louis Realty:
“Pay your rent early every month, keep up with lawn maintenance, and treat the home with care. During this time, you’re also establishing a great relationship with the landlord. After some time, make an offer.”
To ensure this rental ends in ownership, be upfront with the owners about what you’d like to do. This may appeal to people who have strong emotional attachments with their home—they’ll feel better selling to someone they know will keep taking care of the home and love it like they do.
Get Your Dream Home
Sometimes the most unusual tactics are the most powerful. Use these ideas to become the owner of your dream home, whether you put down less money or flyer potential neighborhoods. Pull out all the stops for your dream home and you may be pleasantly surprised.