In the last few weeks the Halifax real estate market has really began to pick up. Whether you're buying a single family home or condo, buyers are competing among one another for listings that have been on the market for only a few days. So while this is great news for sellers (it's been a buyers market for years), some buyers are missing out on their dream homes. However, given the right approach and using a few simple techniques, buyers can put themselves out in-front of the competition.
Have Your Financial Pre-Approval Done Ahead of Time
Understanding your purchasing power before you begin looking at homes and condos can save you a considerable amount of time. First of all, you'll only be looking at listings that fall within your budget. Secondly, you will feel confident and ready to write an offer on your dream home knowing your bank or lender has already pre-approved you for that price point. Having your "ducks lined up" will put you at a competitive advantage over other buyers in a hot market.
Hire a Real Estate Agent
A good real estate agent will understand exactly what you're looking for and will continually keep an eye on the market for you every single day. Being notified as soon as a hot listing comes on the market is the best way to ensure you're one of the first to view the home and if necessary, the first to submit an offer. Waiting even a day or two allows for other buyers to come along and submit offers of their own. Once you get into competing offers you risk having to pay more money and even worse, lose out altogether. Be early and get ahead of the competition.
Know Exactly What You're Looking For
Write a list of the five must-have items you want in your new home / condo purchase. How many bedrooms are you looking for? Does it have to have an ensuite or a walk-in closet? What about underground parking or an attached garage? Or is exterior parking fine? Do you like new, turnkey construction or does something that's a bit dated where you can put sweat equity in work for you? These are all important questions to ask yourself ahead of time. This way, when you walk into a home, if checks all of your boxes you can feel comfortable writing an offer.
Understand the Market
Start looking now. Even if you're one, three, six, twelve months away from purchasing it's a good practice to get out and view a couple of homes today. It's never a waste of your or your real estate agents time. This will help you better understand different neighbourhoods, price points and most importantly, what you do and do not want in a home purchase. This way, when your dream home pops up, you will feel comfortable and confident in submitting a quick offer.
Last Resort; Get Creative
While we haven't personally encountered it in the Halifax market just yet, people are now submitting Love Letters (that's not a typo) along with their offers. While they've been around for a while, they're getting a lot more popular, being used by buyers as a last-ditch effort to win via the seller's emotional attachment to the home. Most letters talk about favorite design choices the seller incorporated, plans to raise the family and proclamations that the home is "the one" after a long and tough home search.
Or, you can do what this gentlemen did and create a music video. Because of this video his family won the bid on their dream home by making a music video to "Our House," which just so happened to be the song the sellers sang to each other when they first lit the fireplace in their home. The connection instantly won the sellers over, beating out another offer that was $20,000 over the buyers' submission.
For more information on how to stay on top of a hot Spring market, feel free to contact us at any point-in-time.