Depending where you are, it can be a challenge for buyers in the housing market these days. When homes nationwide are selling on average within 3 weeks (sometimes within a day in places like Westchester!), buyers have to hustle to find a home they want and then possibly win the bidding war that comes after.
Distances to desirable establishments like school districts or employment centers are driving up prices as well. And all of this is doubly true for the super hot housing market of Westchester County, one of the most highly sought after areas in the country.
It’s no secret that higher rent and mortgage rates are convincing many to jump into home ownership now. In this fast paced market, it’s important to think flexibly and keep yourself centered. Here’s 5 tips to help you successfully push through the Westchester Housing Market!
1) Act Quickly And Decisively When You Like a Home
When the home you want can be sold away overnight, there’s little time for window shopping. If you’re serious about jumping on a property, make sure to have your finger on the pulse.
- Get prequalified – the first step.
- Keep yourself updated by setting up online alerts with sites like Zillow or Redfin.
- Check out the homes you want ASAP, and find a realtor who is willing to be as nimble as you are.
A perfect resource is the Westchester based Sterling Property Solutions, a real estate and property management company that knows the local market comprehensively.
Remember, being the first to make an offer leaves a solid impression. If there’s a higher offer made later, you often get a chance to make a new one yourself if you make it clear how much you love that home.
2) Avoid Contingency Contracts If Possible
Adding contingencies to your offer, such as having to sell your home before you can close on a new one, can make your offer less appealing and can move to you the bottom of the list. These nuances scare off sellers, especially if there are other offers being made without any.
An offer made with no caveats is cleaner, stronger, and informs the seller that you’re serious about making moves and making them on time.
3) Make A Strong Net-Price Offer
Sale prices have wiggle room but be realistic with your offer, especially in the competitive Westchester market where bidding wars run rampant. In this current low-inventory environment, an offer more than 10% below the asking price is a quick way to get rejected. Many realtors are advising buyers to offer asking price, or more, in desirable areas.
Keep your offer reasonable, and keep in mind that the net price takes closing costs and other monetary details into account in addition to the sale price.
Experienced local real estate agents will help you create a strong offer because they know Westchester. Agencies like Sterling Property Solutions, with its mastery of the Westchester market, will work with you to make a competitive and level headed offer.
4) Gather Up Your Best Down Payment
When you present your offer, make it the highest one you can reasonably muster. Research from ATTOM Data Solutions showed that average down payments were on the rise in 2017, and sellers are more likely to accept an offer from a buyer with a higher down payment.
This can happen for many reasons, including the conception that a buyer with a larger down payment will more easily qualify for a mortgage. In other words there is less perceived risk the deal will fall through.
It’s difficult and anxiety-causing for many buyers to gather down payment funds, but you don’t have to do it alone! There’s a myriad of programs available that can help add to the funds a buyer has saved on their own, and they aren’t all limited to low income or first time buyers.
5) Turn Coal Into Diamonds
Not every house leaves the best first impression, but no book should be judged by their cover alone. Buyers dead set on purchasing their dream homes will skip over homes that aren’t state of the art, even if they have good “bones”.
If you’re willing to play the long game and live through some updating, then making a purchase that will need an upgrade down the line could be worth it if the all-in cost is doable.
In a place like Westchester, it’s still all about “location, location, location”. Some towns are more expensive or desirable than others, and there are only so many houses in each price bracket. With that it mind, keep your buying options open in order to get into the school system or town you want, especially with the record-low inventory levels for homes under $1.5 million.