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Don’t make these 5 mistakes if you’re home-shopping in a seller’s market

In a seller’s market, housing demand is greater than supply, which drives up real estate prices.

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Right now the number of homes for sale across the country is low, especially “starter” homes in a first-time homebuyer’s price range. That means as a first-time homebuyer, you’re not only looking for a home you actually like, but you’re also looking to beat out all the other homebuyers who also like that home and want to make an offer on it, too.

If you want to land your dream home, it’s time to roll up your sleeves and get down to work. You’ll need to be strategic in order to get what you want.

Here are 5 mistakes you should avoid if you’re serious about getting into the home you want:

  1. Waiting too long to make an offer. You’ll need to move quickly if you find yourself captivated by a particular property. And while you don’t want to make an impulsive decision you may regret, if you wait too long to put in an offer on a home you’ve fallen in love with, you may lose out to more motivated borrowers. In a seller’s market, home-buying competition is fierce, and there is likely at least one other interested party waiting in the wings.
  2. Skipping the preapproval process. A preapproval means your finances and credit have already been vetted by your lender, and proves to the seller that you’re serious about your offer.
  3. Working with an inexperienced real estate agent. It will only be to your benefit to work with someone who can give you all the help you can get. If you have a seasoned agent on your side, you’ll probably have a better chance of getting the home you want. As a first-time homebuyer, you might not know what makes an agent “good,” so do some research, and don’t forget to ask for referrals from your friends, family and co-workers.
  4. Having unrealistic expectations about the home inspection and any repairs. The more competitive the market, the less likely a seller will be to make repairs or accept a lower offer. If the repairs are minor and not a deal-breaker, you may have to bite the bullet on them.
  5. Low-balling the price. A seller’s market is too competitive to try negotiating a bargain. If it’s the home you really want, open with your best offer.