The spring real estate market in West Michigan isn’t for the faint of heart. Last year, many home hunters found themselves missing the bid amidst multiple offers that were tens of thousands over asking price. So how do you win your bid in a red-hot market?
You need strategic partnerships with your realtor and your lender. Most importantly, you need a rock-solid pre-qualification from an agile lender that will set you apart from other bidders.
On the financing side, before you start the hunt, make sure you have these ducks in a row:
- Create flexible a mortgage strategy to avoid a one-size-fits-all loan structure approach. Instead, create a plan that allows you fluid options. Example: Home is perfect with no work needed to maximize down payment, to minimize monthly payment, OR house needs updates/improvements minimize down payment to maximize funds for updates (Ask us how to eliminate with the later scenario.)
- With interest rates beginning to rise, be sure to evaluate affordability scenarios so you know your ceiling and don’t get carried away in the excitement of bidding wars.
- Make sure your prequalification process is based on true underwriting so there are no surprises or heartbreak ahead. Savvy lenders will generate property-specific letters so that all your cards aren’t on the table.
Once you’re locked and loaded to win your bid, it’s time to put a bit of sweat equity into your search.
- Daily Listings – Review all new listings early each day at http://www.grar.com. Don’t limit yourself by over-refined criteria. Sort by properties that were just listed. There are trade-offs and gems to be found by searching broadly.
- Your Personal Hot Sheet – Shortlist properties of interest and get ready to gather some serious intel before sending the list to your realtor.
- Get the 30,000 Foot View – Save time, travel and trouble by using Satellite view on Google Maps (http://www.google.com/maps) to rule out deal-killer location conditions.
- Embrace Digital Sleuthing – Visit the BSA conglomeration of Michigan counties (www.bsaonline.com) to look up the property address for a wealth of information, including assessment and property taxes as well as images, building permits, drawings of additions, and owner information.
- Understand Your Seller – Social Media sites such as Facebook or LinkedIn can help you understand the motivating factors of your sellers and other contextual factors around the sale. Win-win deals are born from understanding what everyone at the table needs.
If you go into the spring market like a lion and roar your way to closing! Happy Hunting!