December 4, 2023

4 Tips for First-Time Homebuyers in Today’s Real Estate Market

In today’s real estate market, many first-time homebuyers are feeling the crush of soaring home…

In today’s real estate market, many first-time homebuyers are feeling the crush of soaring home prices and a highly competitive market. If you’ve already started looking at homes, you are probably now familiar with the phrase “highest and best.”

Highly competitive markets like we’re seeing today can be exhausting and overwhelming — but don’t throw in the towel yet. There are plenty of ways to set yourself apart from the crowd and get the keys to your new home. These four tips will help you get to the closing table in no time.

Two people holding for sale sign with the word Sold over it next to boxes in empty living room.

Image source: Getty Images.

Choose wisely

Before starting your home search, you need to find a quality real estate agent. You want someone who has been in the business a while, knows the area very well, and has strong negotiation skills. If they aren’t paying close attention to your search, you could easily miss a home.

If they have been working in the area for a while, they may have connections with other real estate agents so that you can see a home before it pops up on the multiple listing service (MLS). Timing is everything in today’s market, and working with a real estate agent can help you avoid missing out on potential homes when they arise.

Don’t settle

If your search results are coming up with the same 10 homes you’ve already looked at, you may start debating whether you really would mind that pool after all or whether the extra bath is actually necessary. It may be tempting to budge on your core criteria that can be achieved within your budget, but have patience. When you settle for features you don’t really want, it will only be a matter of time before you decide to sell again.

Stay the course

It can be easy to have that fear of missing out (FOMO) creep in after making your umpteenth offer, only to miss out. But overbidding just to get the house won’t be worth it in the long run. If you overpay above and beyond what you can comfortably afford, it can also put you in a position where you might not be able to take that vacation or go out as frequently as you want.

There’s the saying ‘house poor’ for a reason. Stay firm on your price so that you can enjoy life in your new home to the fullest. It can be helpful in today’s market to actually look at homes below your actual budget so that when you do find the right one you can pay above asking without pushing yourself.

Make a striking offer

Notice I said striking, not impressive. This isn’t all about the offer price. The seller could need to close fast or have had other offers fall through. Maybe adding a no contingencies clause or having conventional financing for a faster close will take the worry out of it for them.

It can also be incredibly persuasive to send a personal note with a photo of your family to make a genuine connection. There are a lot of sellers out there who would happily pick you over others if they know you aren’t going to tear the house down or are a local looking to move closer to your mom. Your real estate agent can talk with the seller’s agent to try to find out what they are looking for.

Patience, resolve, and ingenuity are skills you probably never thought you would need when searching for a house. But that’s what the current housing market is demanding.

These four tips for buying a house will help you make a competitive offer that will actually work for you in the long run — no matter if you’re a real estate investor or a homebuyer. Just stand firm and keep looking. You will find the perfect house for you in due time.