What it takes to WIN in today's hot San Francisco Real Estate Market.
Featured article by George Langford, March 5th, 2015 SF Bay Times Real Estate Column:
How to “WIN” as a SF Home Buyer in today’s market.
It’s no secret, and everyone is fully aware that the San Francisco housing market is hot, hot, hot. Limited inventory and lots of competition leaves buyers questioning “What does it take for my offer to be accepted”. Offer after offer, this market can begin to wear and tear on buyers emotionally and physically. Hearing those famous last words from a Realtor, "so close this time, but the sellers accepted another offer.” But fear no more, I have comprised some helpful tactics that can help you move your offer from “so close” to “congrats, they accepted your offer”.
Some of these may seem obvious, but are all to often overlooked in the beginning stages of home buying.
Get Pre-Approved - This should be done from day #1. You should begin to have a conversation with a Bank or Mortgage Broker. In doing so, you will have a much clearer idea of what you can afford to purchase, and how much it will cost you to do so. Having an approval ready, means the moment you find that “perfect” home, you can pull the trigger and present an offer to the sellers.
Know Market Trends - Reach out to a local Realtor (like myself), and begin to have a conversation about local trends. Get a better understanding of how the market is performing. Even within San Francisco we have micro-markets, in which areas are performing differently than others. Go out and start looking for yourself during open houses in the areas you like. Visually see the activity at each property, and even follow the properties online to see what they end up selling for. This will help you become an informed buyer and make an education decision when you decide to place an offer on a property.
Get an Agent - Look, when we get sick we don’t diagnose ourselves, we seek out a professional. So why try an navigate the real estate market alone? Get in touch with an expert that is knowledgable, willing to offer unbiased advice and truly has your best interest at heart. Having an agent allows you to recieve advice on local laws, rules and regulations. A great agent will also go the extra mile to truly learn about your wants, needs and your lifestyle. They should be asking you a ton of questions, and if they are not, it’s time to find a new agent. An agent should also be investigating the properties you like to learn everything they possibly can. Not only does this help you decide if a property might be the right home, but is key when it comes to the time of negotiations.
Think outside the box!
Here are some ways to be one step ahead of other buyers and could even mean the difference between a “yes” and a “no” from a seller.
Emotional Attraction - Even though money is a top priority for a seller, don’t be fooled by that. Selling a home is emotional as well, and sometimes there is a lot of attachment and history that goes along with the sale. Learn what that is for the seller and let them know you will take care of the home and what your intentions are. Allow them to know about you as well, sometimes when your offer is very close with another buyers, sellers will choose whom they want the house to go to based off of who the buyers are or what they have learned about them. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve hear from a seller “ We want our home to go to someone who will continue to take care of it”.
The hidden “Gems" - 92% of buyers begin their search online and assume what they see is all that is available for sale. As a realtor, we have access to what we call “Pocket" Listings or “Off-Market" Listings. These are properties that could be coming onto the market soon but just aren’t ready yet, or maybe the seller doesn’t want 100+ people trekking through their home on the weekends. Speak with your agent and ask if they have access to these. This can give you an advantage against other buyers at seeing a property first, and in some cases getting the property before it even hits the open market!
When it all comes down to it, find an agent that will educate you and help you implement these tactics, so you are armed with information and a better understanding. So in the end you can successfully win in today’s San Francisco Real Estate Market. My mantra, Knowledge + Street Level Insights + Strategic Negotiating Skills = helps you make an informed and educated decision that wins!
If you’d like a Free Home Buyer Guide visit: SFHomeBuyerGuide.com