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5 Steps to Come Out On Top in a Competitive Market

If you're looking for a new home in New York City, you'll discover that there are 20% fewer homes on the market this Spring than last. It feels like there are more buyers looking than there are properties to buy. And mortgage rates are increasing for the first time in some New Yorkers' memories! Yet mortgage rates are still relatively low. Rates were double when I bought my first apartment!

Now's the time to jump into the market to avoid any future increases in sale prices and mortgage rates.

Here's what you need to do:

1. Choose a great real estate agent.
As the Sales Manager at Highline, I can recommend one of our excellent agents to represent you and be YOUR fiduciary. One of our jobs is to teach you how you can come out on top in a competitive market. Your agent can show you what you can do to make your offer more appealing to a seller.

2. Get Preapproved. Speak with a mortgage professional to find out how much you can afford.
Don't overextend yourself. History shows that your home WILL appreciate over the long term, but you also need to be able to afford it for the long term. Make sure that you're comfortable with the amount that you are going to spend, and make sure that you still have your emergency fund even after your down payment. Your Highline agent can recommend some skillful mortgage professionals. To make a competitive offer for your dream home and get the seller to consider your offer, your mortgage preapproval needs to be in order.

3. Be prepared for a competitive market.
Now that you know how much you want to spend, be prepared to spend THAT MUCH. The inventory shortage that we are experiencing now in NYC is similar in many markets around the country. This is a positive thing for the strength of the real estate market overall, but it definitely makes it more challenging for the purchaser who is out there searching for a home. As a purchaser, you should be aware that there may be other buyers looking at the same property you fall in love with; but after that I want you to put on blinders. Only think about yourself and that property and how much it's worth to you. That's how much you need to be prepared to offer.

4. Be confident that you know what a home is worth to you.
In order to actually GET the home that you want, you need to be aggressive. There will be other times when you can haggle - like at a flea market - but this is not that time. And you need to feel confident that you know what different homes are worth to you. Nobody else can tell you what something is worth to you. You are the buyer who is out there looking at properties, you know what you want, and you know what other properties are asking. If you want to try to get it for less than you're willing to pay, then you can certainly bid less. But if there is competition for the home then be prepared to offer as much as you are willing and able to pay. Offer as much as you would regret that you didn't. What I mean is if you are willing to pay $500K for a house and you bid only $450K, and someone else bids $500K and you lose the house, would you regret that you didn't bid $500K? If you bid $450K and someone else bids $500K but you weren't willing to pay more than $450K, you won't have any regrets. In strong markets, the average negotiability is less than 5%, so be aware that often the asking price or more is what it will take to secure the home.

5. Don't think about everyone else.
Emotionally, competitive markets are very difficult for buyers. Don't pay attention to the competition. Don't pay attention to the other buyers; only think about what the home is worth to you; and if you bid that much, you have nothing to lose. But you could get your dream home. Good luck!

Posted by Highline Residential's Sales Manager, Stacey Max . Find Stacey on