JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — It's no secret that the housing market is insane right now.
Bidding wars and inflated asking prices are now the norm for people looking to buy a home along the First Coast.
Cyndy Tomassetti is a broker associate and real estate advisor. She says there are several tips she gives clients who are in the market for a new home.
Have a great team
"It's your agent's job to search for properties for their customers, 24/7. Buyers should not have to do their own lifting. Have them set you up with a search portal so you are notified as soon as something matching your parameters comes on the market.
There should be little or no cost involved to use a buyer's agent. Some agents charge a transaction fee (usually less than $300), which is not permissible for VA buyers, but generally the seller pays the buyer's agent. My brokerage and I charge nothing to buyers."
Get to know the neighborhoods
"Know what neighborhoods and areas you want before you start to look. Do the legwork to save valuable time. See if you like the neighborhood by visiting on a weekend, and check commute time during the week.
Have your agent set up a "coming soon" alert, so you can get a jump on the competition. Only agents and brokers can see listings in "coming soon", if you are searching by yourself, you will miss out.
Time is of the essence: Go see a listing as soon as possible! Properties that are priced within reason are going under contract in 60 hours or less. You can't wait until the weekend. If you can't go in person, have your agent show you the home via video on Google Duo, Facetime, or a similar app. Sellers do not like to accept offers from buyers who haven't toured the home in some form."
"Put down as much for a deposit as you possibly can. The money is refundable if you follow the contract and either change your mind within the 10 days, or don't meet a financing contingency.
Be aggressive with asking price, and make your best offer the first time. Ask your agent about an escalation clause where your offer can increase if others out-bid you, up to your walk-away price.
Be as desirable as you can with your finances. If you are paying cash, have proof of your funds ready to go. If you are financing, it's very important to use a local, established lender. Sellers don't like surprises. you should be at least prequalified, and some lenders will pre-approve you. Ask what their "turn-times" are, that is how long for them to get approval and close a loan.I had a buyer who lost out on multiple homes because their lender was known to take 45 days to approve a loan; no one wants to tie up a sale for that long."
Be flexible like Gumby
"I had two buyers win recently because they were flexible with the sellers and let them lease the homes back for a short amount of time. Before you offer, see if your inspector can turn the reports back in less than ten days. I would NEVER advise my buyers to waive an inspection, but quite a few of mine have done inspections within 24 hours, most have their inspections completed in less than five days."