If you’re feeling stuck, it may be time to look for new ways to gain traction:
1. Get *pre-approved first.
In a seller’s market, house hunting before you’re *pre-approved is no longer an option. Some real estate agents may even require it. A *pre-approval will tell you how much house you can afford, while also adding weight to your offer. You can make your offer more attractive, communicating to a seller that you’re ready to close, by using Academy’s exclusive early approval program, *Pre-Approval+.
2. Increase your down payment.
Like early *pre-approval, a larger down payment also looks favorable to a seller. It suggests you have the funds to bring the sale through to closing. While many low and no down payment loans exist to help keep homeownership affordable, it can be smart to beef up your down payment if you’re able.
3. Start with a starter.
Several factors support entering the market if you’re ready to do it. Though mortgage rates have risen, they’re still historically low. Housing prices are also gradually rising—indicating that once you become a homeowner, you’ll start building equity. Talk with your Loan Officer about if buying a starter home now and leveraging equity to trade up later makes financial sense.
4. Expand your search radius.
Are you feeling frustrated by the lack of listings in your area? Ask your Realtor to widen your home search radius. For some buyers, this might mean relocating. For others, listings may improve by searching in nearby suburban and rural areas. (This might make you eligible for a no down payment USDA Loan too.)
5. Shop new builds.
More new homes could be coming to a neighborhood near you, offering perks like the ability to customize and integrate energy-efficient features. Academy Mortgage offers Extended Rate Locks that can be used while a home is under construction, with the option to float down if market rates decline.
6. Stay flexible with renovations.
Depending on where you live, you may still see multiple offers on a house. One way to sidestep the competition is to consider a home that needs some love. In the past few years, homebuyers have been more willing to take on repairs. Using an “all-in-one” Renovation Loan could give you the funds to flip a fixer-upper.
7. Look at old listings.
There’s nothing a seller wants less than to have their home sit on the market. You—and your agent—can use this to your advantage. A listing may become “stale” after three to five weeks. If a seller has priced their home too high, it could be your chance to swoop in. Just make sure to check thoroughly for any deal-breakers that may have deterred other buyers.
8. Inquire about withdrawn listings.
Similarly, your agent may be able to do some digging in the MLS for listings that have been withdrawn or have expired. Some of these failed listings may also have been priced too high. If that’s the case, a seller who’s thrown in the towel might be eager to negotiate.
9. Write a rock-solid offer.
This one comes down to the skill of your agent and how much you’re willing to give. A competitive offer might include a bid at or above asking price; an escalation clause, noting how much extra you’re willing to pay above the highest offer; and potentially an appraisal gap clause, where you’ll agree to cover the difference if a home appraises at less than your offer.