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Summer is traditionally thought of as the home buying season. While northern states have a definite buying season (who wants to move in 6 feet of snow, right?), here in Southern California we see homes coming on the market year-round. The Summer months see more homes for sale as well as more buyers actively looking for their dream home.

Selecting A First Home

When you are buying your first-ever home, you may worry about finding it on a particular street or neighborhood or having a particular feature (central air conditioning or a pool, etc.).  Make a list of things you want the home to offer such as closet space, a view, extra parking, wood flooring, etc. Take this list with you as see homes and take note of how many of the desired features are offered by the home. When you are on a budget it is rare to find a home that will include every single thing on your list. Prioritize your list so you can quickly decide if the home is worth trading off one feature (e.g. a view) for getting all the other features you want. Try to keep an open mind to location as well. Buyers who are willing to expand their search radius as most likely to succeed.

The Competition

You will quickly find out, there will be other home-shoppers and many of them will be interested in the same home you want. This leads to many offers on the home in question. Plan on there being competitors for the home and act accordingly. For example, your lender has pre-qualified your for a loan of $436,500. This together with your 3% down payment means your budget is $450,000. Search of homes asking $430,000 or less to leave yourselves some room to negotiate. Let’s say the home asks $430,000. Offer above asking and don’t be afraid to be aggressive. In this case, you may want to offer $5,000 to $10,000 or more above the asking price. That may be enough to get you the home, or you may get a counteroffer asking for more. As you can borrow a bit more, you can out-bid the person who can’t or won’t go to $445,000 or $450,000.

Gaining An Edge

The offer you make starts out being all about money. How much and how quickly are the two initial questions. However, there are other details to be addressed. Does the seller need a lot of time to move? Offer to close escrow in 40 or 50 days or more to accommodate their needs. Maybe they need to close on this escrow for the funds to buy their next home. Give them a few extra days in the home after close of escrow. Perhaps they wanted to see the fireworks from their rooftop deck one more time. Plan on closing escrow after the 4th of July. Ask the seller/seller’s agent what you can offer them to help close the deal and then put it into your offer.

As you can see, this not as simple as shopping online. Sellers these days have many choices as to who they will sell to, even when it is not it is buying season. Give them as many reasons as possible to choose you. With many satisfied first-time buyer clients, I can help you become a home owner too. Contact me at 760 622 5087 or [email protected] and you, too, will be doing the dance of joy this buying season!

Photo by Andre Hunter on Unsplash