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Buying A Home in A Seller’s Market: 7 Tips

It’s no secret that the Boise area real estate market is both popular and competitive, especially because of the COVID-19 pandemic. However, the current state of the market is a very heavy seller’s market due to record-high buyer interest in the area. So how do buyers stay competitive in a market where nearly every listing gets multiple offers and many go under contract in a few days? Here are 7 ways that can help buyers improve their offers to sellers.

Get pre-approved

The best thing you can do as a serious buyer before actually looking at a home is to get pre-approved for a mortgage. This serves two purposes.

  • It allows you to have an idea about what you can reasonably afford, helping you narrow your search.
  • It shows the sellers that your offer is genuine and that you are a qualified buyer, which will help make your offer stand out.

Expand your search radius

Everybody wants to live in the best neighborhoods in the best cities. That’s what makes them the hotspots. However, it is worth it to expand your search out of your top area/the hottest area of town. Even going a few subdivisions over can get you a similar house for a different price, while staying in the same school boundaries or area of town.

In the Boise area, commutes are relatively short compared to other metro areas its size. Many people working in Boise or Meridian live in Nampa, Emmett, or Kuna. This allows them to get a more similar, bigger, or better-suited home for a similar price.

Waive the mortgage contingency (if feasible)

Contingencies are put in place to protect both the buyer and the seller in case something goes wrong with any part of the transaction, but they can add a layer of uncertainty and extend the closing window. Mortgage contingencies allow the buyer to back out of the contract if the mortgage financing does not get approved. If you (as the buyer) are putting an offer on a house that is well within your price range and the house is not grossly overvalued, it makes it more likely that your loan will be approved. Removing this contingency will make your offer cleaner and more appealing to buyers because it takes away some uncertainty and can help make the deal close faster.

This isn’t feasible for all homebuyers, so talk to your agent and your mortgage lender to see if it is in your best interest to keep or remove the mortgage contingency.

Don’t give a lowball offer

In a seller’s market—especially a competitive and popular one like Boise—a lowball offer is by and large a waste of the seller’s time and a great way to get your offer rejected early on. Since most homes get multiple offers, sellers can accept an offer whenever they want and go under contract in a matter of days. In a market like Boise, come out with your highest and best, since asking for the listing price is considered a lowball offer at this time.

Make a cash offer

Obviously, this isn’t in the cards for all home buyers, especially first-time homebuyers. But, if you are able, submitting an all-cash offer is one of the best ways to stand out in a pile of multiple offers. Sellers like cash offers because there is no financing contingency, and the closing process tends to take less time.

Make a customized offer

This goes beyond writing a love letter to the sellers and submitting it with your offer. See if you or your agent can find you the seller’s living situation or reasons for moving. If you find you they need more time to move out because they haven’t closed on their new house or need to get their ducks in a row, include a rent back option in your offer. This will give the sellers an agreed-upon amount of time to continue living in the house until they are able to move. A certain level of patience and flexibility built into your offer can really help it rise above other offers.

Consider renting in the short term

If you haven’t found a house that fits your needs and price range in a short time and you’ve already sold your last home, consider renting a house or apartment for a short time to continue your home search. Not only will this prevent you from being homeless, but you can take more time to search at a less frantic pace.

Referring back to the first point: Who knows, you may discover a new area of town that you fell in love with or locate other subdivisions that you hadn’t seen before. In a crowded market like Boise, giving your home search a little more time will greatly help you succeed in finding your new home.

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