Every day we hear stories of buyers writing a dozen offers and losing on every one. We hear of buyers who have decided to renew their leases for another year in hopes that they’ll be able to save more money for a larger down payment, or the inventory will have a little more freedom when they decide to try again at the dream of homeownership.
So what can you do if you’re one of these buyers in an ultra-competitive market? Is there a way to beat the system, or at least make sure you’re playing the right game? The good news is Yes. There are ways to beat the dreaded buyer burnout, and win with homeownership. Here is some of our best advice.
Talk with your agent – we mean REALLY talk with your agent. This is the time to be real, even if it isn’t pretty. When you keep the conversations raw and honest, your agent is best able to serve you and help you find the right home.
This is not the time to hold your cards to your chest and play it safe. This is the time to lay yourself bare and say “This is what I want. But this is what I can live with.” Because right now you’re probably going to get 75-80% of your wish list (unless you have an unlimited budget, in which case, you don’t need this advice).
Make sure the honesty is a two-way street. Find an agent that will deliver all of the news to you, and explain what it means in terms of finding your home. Do you need to have a larger down payment? Do you need to widen the net in terms of neighborhoods? Do you need to make your wish list more realistic? These conversations may not be fun, but neither is beating your head against a wall.
Breathe and Reboot
Take a break from your home search, even if it’s just a weekend. Life is hectic on a normal day; and adding the pressure of finding a home can take a toll on anyone. So give yourself some grace, and take a few days off. Don’t look at any real estate apps when you have a few free minutes at work. Don’t grab your iPad to see if there is anything new on the market when you’re home making dinner.
What will you do with this respite?!? How about spending some time with your family and friends connecting over some simple pleasures that don’t involve house hunting. Get a massage or take a yoga class (you probably need some breathing and relaxation). Basically, do anything else and rest assured that your agent will let you know if anything pops up during your break.
Now is the time to get clear on the difference between the “must haves” and the “wants”. Clarity is freeing. And it helps you focus your time on the right homes instead of chasing the elusive unicorn. Yes, the perfect house is a unicorn. It’s a lovely idea, but we have no idea if it actually exists.
If you’re buying the house with a spouse or significant other, spend some time with each of your lists. Maybe you’ve already done this with your agent. But if not, now is the time. Each of you write down the top 6 or 7 things you want in a home. After you identify what you want, write down WHY you want it. After going through this exercise, you may discover the things that you think are really important are not as essential. And some things you thought were bonus features may have more weight. Spend time getting clear, real, and focused.
Your agent is your advocate. But the best way for them to serve you is for you to hone in on what you want so they can help you find it. Know that they are working tirelessly for you to help you fulfill your dreams. Sometimes knowing that someone is really in it with you is the best antidote to burnout. But keep these other three tips in mind.