If you listen to the media, you would believe that there is a real estate deal to be had on every corner. There may be deals out there, but they are not as easy to purchase as you might think.
If you are in the market for a 'deal,' you need to go into your search process well prepared and with great enthusiasm.
Well prepared means fully approved for financing, subject to identification of the property. This does not mean you have had a casual conversation with a lender where they pulled your credit and told you it all looks good.
Why is this so important? If you find a deal, there is a pretty good bet that others will see that it is a deal, too. Investors are back in the market and attempting to pick up properties for less than market value. Often, they pay cash.
It is very difficult to compete with a cash offer. A cash offer is a virtual sure thing to a seller. One of the concerns with the health of the real estate market today is the difficulty in securing loans. If you are selling your house and know that you don't have to worry about whether or not the buyer will get a loan, that is the buyer you want! If you, as a buyer, are going to successfully compete with a cash buyer, you need to have a very attractive offer, with all financing in place, to put before them. This is not the time to low-ball on what is already a very attractively priced listing--you may even want to offer above asking price!
Finally, what do I mean to search with 'great enthusiasm?'
Most investors will put a contract on a property, sight unseen. To them it is simply a numbers game; if they can pay 'x' and then either sell for 'y' or rent for 'z' and make a profit, it makes sense. And on top of that, it is often a cash offer. If you have any chance of competing with an investor, you need to be one of the first people in the property and be ready to write up your offer immediately. If you are not the kind of person who can quickly make arrangements to see a property or make a split second decision to buy a home you like, this type of purchase is not for you.
There are plenty of well-priced, regular sale properties available (at least in my Northern Virginia market). If any of what I just spoke of makes you nervous or uncomfortable, you might want to adjust your buying expectations. I am happy to help you decide what kind of buyer you should be and then help you to find the house of your dreams!
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