Today’s housing market is difficult to navigate. Not only are home values ​​extremely high, there is not enough inventory to meet buyer demand. As a result, many buyers find themselves embroiled in bidding wars, where they are pitted against at least one other buyer in an attempt to get an offer accepted. Whenever there is a bidding war, someone will inevitably come out disappointed.

First-time home buyers really feel the pain in this regard. In a recent Opendoor poll, 98% of newbies say they’ve lost a home they were interested in. If this has happened to you, or if you want to avoid it, here are some things you can do to give yourself an advantage.

1. Make an offer above the asking price

Home prices are on the rise, so it may already be difficult for you to afford the price a seller is asking. But the reality is that many sellers are forgoing bids above asking prices due to bidding wars. If you want to avoid a bidding war in the first place, you might consider going beyond asking yourself. If you do, a seller may simply accept your offer without entertaining others.

How far should you go above the asking price of a house? It depends on the local market and your real estate agent should be able to advise you, but in general, if a seller is offering a house for $ 500,000, offering $ 502,000 will not be enough. Offering $ 515,000 or $ 520,000 may be a different story, however.

2. Get pre-approved for a mortgage loan

Getting pre-approved for a mortgage doesn’t guarantee you a home loan. Instead, it sends a message to sellers that you are a serious buyer whose finances have already been reviewed by a lender.

Having a mortgage pre-approval letter on hand could help a seller choose you over another buyer. If your seller accepts another offer, they are taking the risk that your competition will not be able to secure a mortgage for the property in question. This is a risk that a seller may not want to take.

3. Make it clear that you will be flexible with your fence.

The more you are willing to give a seller wiggle room when it comes to the closing date, the more likely you are to get your offer accepted on a home. Your salesperson may want to delay their closing for three months to coincide with the end of the school year, for example. If you make it clear that you will stick to your seller’s schedule, it will be easier for you to get your offer accepted.

Being a first time home buyer is tough. But it’s especially difficult in today’s housing market, where there is so much competition. If you’ve ever lost a home, these tips might help you avoid a repeat scenario. If you are making an offer for the first time, these tips could help you emerge victorious.

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