Sharon Simmons' Blog
If you’re a first-time homebuyer you might be worried or anxious about the process of making an offer on a home. After all, negotiating isn’t something most of us look forward to on a day to day basis and we try to avoid it when possible. When it comes to buying a home, however, negotiating is usually part of the process.
One of the benefits of working with a real estate agent is that they have the knowledge and expertise to help you out through the negotiation process. Not only will they help you formulate your offer, but they’ll also present the offer for you and handle the in-person negotiations.
Buyer’s vs seller’s market
Whether or not the odds are in your favor depends on many things. One important factor is the state of the real estate marketing. In a seller’s market, which is what we’re in right now, there are more buyers looking for homes than there are sellers trying to sell them.
However, you can still edge past the competition in a seller’s market if you plan accordingly. This is when negotiation comes into play, and when effective negotiation can get your offer accepted where others are declined.
Time is of the essence
When you’re shopping for a home in a seller’s market, you’ll need to be swift with your offer and counteroffers to stay ahead of other prospective buyers. However, being too hasty with your offers can seem imposing or reckless. It’s better to take a day longer to come up with a more effective offer than it is to make an offer that looks bad to the seller.
Be clear and concise
Just as you’re nervous making offers on a home, sellers are usually nervous fielding them. So, if you want to make things easier for you and your seller, make sure your offer is simple and straightforward.
This involves removing unnecessary contingencies and sticking to the contract basics--inspection, appraisal, and financing. If the seller receives another offer that is riddled with contingencies, they might prefer to work with you since you presented them with a simple contract.
Having your paperwork in order, getting preapproved, and making yourself available as much as possible will go a long way in the negotiation process. Now more than ever it’s important to be well-organized.
Do your homework on the house and neighborhood you’re interested in. Make sure you know if there is a lot of interest in the area and the house in particular. This will let you know how much breathing room you have.
Getting preapproved will not only help you know the limits you can offer but it will also signal to the seller that you’re a serious buyer.
If you’re in the market to buy a home, one of your worst fears may be that of getting into a bidding war. What if you knew it was possible to actually score a home without spending a penny more than your budget? Below, you’ll find some tips that you should heed before you even put an offer in on a home.
Know Your Budget
The first step is to know your budget. If you can spend a bit more than the asking price on a home in a seller’s market, you may want to do just that. Buying a home is an emotional roller coaster and it’s easy to get sucked in. You need to think of all things practical before you even put a number on paper for an offer on a home. Work with your lender so that you know what you can spend. You can even consult your lender before you put an offer in if you know the circumstances of the home that you’re working with. The earlier you submit your offer the better.
Make The Offer Personal
An offer should have some personality and drive attached to it. First, your agent needs to speak with the listing agent. It’s surprising just how many offers are placed where the agents never even speak. As a bonus, you can write a letter to the seller. Let them know how much you love the property, the neighborhood, or their wonderful herb garden that you plan on maintaining. Add some personal flair to your offer to give yourself a leg up as a buyer.
Try To Close Sooner
There’s nothing more attractive to a motivated seller than a shorter time frame for closing. If the seller knows that you can close a deal in a shorter period of time, you may be able to win the deal with your sweet incentive. You can close on a deal faster by doing the inspection quickly. If you’re pre-approved for a mortgage that also helps speed the process along. You could even go a step further and get a conditional approval from the lender.
Give The Sellers What They Want
If the sellers happen to need more time in their home, give them space (unless of course you’re in a hurry to move.) By cooperating with the sellers and not being a high maintenance buyer you can certainly give yourself an advantage in the home buying process. If you really want to impress a seller, submit an “as is” offer. A seller won’t turn down something that’s easier for them.
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In a not-so-distant future, American homeowners may not have to worry about blackouts any longer. Tesla’s giant battery recently powered up Australia’s grid after a power outage in just milliseconds. And, with new, green technologies, constantly being pursued, it could be within reach to say goodbye to blackouts once and for all.
However, we’re not quite there yet. And, if you live in the colder areas of the country, you’re also at the beginning of the worst season for snow and ice that can wreak havoc on power lines.
So, to help get you prepared, I’ve written this list of things you can do to start preparing yourself, your family, and your home for your next power outage.
Read on for the list.
1. Emergency supplies list
It’s vital to have the supplies on hand before a power outage hits so that you don’t have to be wandering around your home in the dark fishing for things you might not even have.
To avoid this, it’s a good idea to keep a supplies bag packed and tucked away somewhere safe. It’s also important that your family knows where this bag is located in case you’re away when the power goes out.
Now, let’s make your list:
Flashlights and batteries - Two quality flashlights with batteries should be on everyone’s emergency list. Make sure your batteries were recently bought and that they are of high quality that won’t run out of juice in just a few minutes. Also, consider including a wind-up flashlight that doesn’t require batteries for use in case you forget to replace your old batteries.
Radio - Most of us keep our cell phones charged up, but we’ve all been guilty of letting them get too low on charge. In these situations, it’s good to have a battery-powered radio to listen to the news.
Power bank - Speaking of cell phones and their poor battery life, consider buying a power bank and keeping an extra charging cord in your bag. Make a note to charge up your power bank every few weeks to ensure it will be charged when you need it most.
Cash - If the blackout effects more than just your neighborhood, many stores’ ATM and credit card machines may be down. It’s a good idea to have a stash of cash for emergencies.
Optional: generator - while you don’t need to buy a generator for your average power outage, it can help if you live in an area that experiences them frequently.
2. Familiarize yourself with your home
Find out where the shutoff valves for water are, learn the layout of your circuit breaker, and learn how to use the manual release on your garage door.
If you have an electric stove, consider purchasing and learning how to use a small propane grill for emergencies.
3. Best practices during a blackout
If you have children, make sure they know what to do if the power goes out when you’re not home. Especially during the winter months, it gets dark out early enough that many parents haven’t even arrived home from work yet. So, be sure your kids know not to start lighting candles in dangerous places and keeping the refrigerator open for extended periods.
Finally, it’s a good idea to turn off power strips and unplug appliances that were turned on when the power went out. This can stop surges from damaging your appliances and save you money.