The last three years have been a great seller's market here in Richmond, VA and probably most of the country. Inventory has been very low, and we have seen houses swept off of the market in less than a day with multiple offers increasing the contract price over list price. The market has shifted slightly in Richmond, VA, but there are still areas where the competitiion is fierce. As a buyer, how do I win the house of my dreams in one of these areas that continually has multiple offers? The first thing you want to do is get yourself an experienced Realtor. Don't just go with your sister's friend because she is new in the business and needs a sale. The next thing you will need to do is get yourself a solid local lender. Your Realtor should have a list of lenders and contact information to provide you. Don't just talk to one lender. Talk to at least three lenders. See what programs each one has, rates, closing costs, and pick a lender that best fits your situation. If you are able to qualify for a conventional loan, that is the preferred loan (besides cash) in a multiple offer situation. There are less restrictions regarding the appraisal as opposed to FHA and VA loans that could request that the seller fix additional items to make the sale close. Get a prequalification letter and make sure they check income, taxes, assets, employment, and credit. If they can provide you with an underwriting preapproval that is even better.
Now that you have your awesome Realtor and prequalification from a lender find the area you want to settle down in, and make sure you know what you want. The last thing you want to do is get caught up in the competition of a multiple offer situation and then have buyer's remorse that you overpaid. Knowing what you want in a home will make you more confident and aggressive to make a strong offer on the home of your dreams.
If you see a home that you think might be your dreamn home, do not take your time in seeing it. Contact your Realtor right away and see it as quickly as possible. In these competitive areas hours can be the difference between getting a house under contract or having another 1,2,3, or 4 additional buyers involved. Your Realtor should provide you with alll of the comparable home sales, homes under contract, and active homes in the neighborhood. If there aren't many sales in the neighborhood they should stay as close to the subject property as possible to find similar neighborhoods, with similar homes in size, age, and condition. If the home is priced at market value AND it's the home of your dreams, you should go in at full price and pay for closing and make it a done deal. If you play around too much trying to save a little here or there, trust me, someone else will come into the picture and pay full price. Some pricing strategies these days are to price a home at a lower value to get a lot of offers at one time. As long as your Realtor's valuation of the property comes in at the list price, go for it! This is where a lot of buyer's lose out on a home because they want to get a deal. It is still a seller's market, and the deals of 10 years ago with foreclosures are a thing of the past. If you don't offer full price the seller will likely wait until the open house that weekend and wait for multiple offers to roll in.
If you do get into a mulitple offer situation there are different things you can do to make your offer stand out. As I mentioned before getting a conventional loan will give you an advantage over an FHA or VA loan. Getting an underwritten preapproval instead of a prequalification is another thing to set your offer apart from the others. Sometimes I will have my clients write a personal letter to the seller to let them know how much they liked their home, how well they maintained their home, and how they will contintue to take great care of their home. I normally do this is the seller has lived in the home for at least a few years. You can add an escalation clause into your offer. For example, the list price is $350,000. You offer $350,000, but you will pay $2,000 over the highest offer up to $360,000, and if this clause is activated the seller has to send you a copy of the offer that caused the escalation. This allows you to acquire the home without overpaying. There are some instances where the seller will request highest and best without an escalation clause. You will want to put your best foot forward with your offer and your Realtor can guide you. After all the home still has to appraise for the contract price. I recommend checking with your lender to see what the difference in monthly payment would be between the offers you are considering making. Some buyers won't go up $5,000 to get the house of their dreams, but in reality it would be the difference in not going to Starbucks one day a month. When you can compare things side by side, it puts things into perspective. Also remember the average American stays in their house around 7 years. The liklihood that you will actually pay off the full 30 years is not as likely as in past generations.
You can remove other contingencies to make your offer more attractive. Here are some examples. You can decrease the amount of days for the inspection. You can waive the appraisal contingency with a waiver from your lender (you normally have to have a large deposit in this situation). You can write in additional terms that you won't ask for any line items on the home inspection that are under $250,$500, $1,000 or whatever amount you decide. If the home looks to be in good shape you can forgo the home inpsection and purchase the home "as is" with the contingency that if the home inspection is not satisfactory to you that you can back out of the contract. This would allow you to potentially win in a multiple offer situation, but still have an out if the home inspection came back with a lot of high dollar items. You can find out what the seller's situation is as far as the closing date. Maybe they don't want a 30 day close, they want a 60 day close. The less contingencies the contract has, the more likely the seller will be to accept the offer even if it's not the highest offer. Do I recommend all of these in a multiple offer situation? No. It would be a case by case basis. Maybe you can't do an escalation because you are at the top of your budget. You could mix some of these other suggestions in to possible win the house. If it's not the house of your dreams, I would be cautious in a multiple offer situation. You don't want to get caught up in the competition, just for the sake of winning. Make sure you really like the house. Take caution when chosing any of these suggestions and talk to your Realtor about the ramafications of choosing any of these. The house may not have any major repairs, but it may need 20 repairs that are under $250. There is a risk to some of these suggestions, and that's why they can work in changing the mind of a seller.
Richmond Home Sales At EXP Realty
Licensed Realtor in the state of Virginia
The Richmond, VA real estate market has been very hot for the past few years. Many sellers have decided to brave the market on their own. Is this a wise choice? That all depends on how much time you have on your hands, how familiar you are with real estate law, contracts, disclosures, market pricing, negotiating, and marketing. Can it be done? Of course it can, but you may be leaving money on the table by not using a professional Realtor. I am not writing this For Sale By Owner blog to convince you to use me as a Realtor. I'm writing it to give you the pros and cons of listing a home on your own. After reading this For Sale By Owner blog you can decide if you want to sell your Richmond real estate on your own.Read More
So you’re thinking about buying your first house, townhouse, condo, ANYTHING to get away from living with family and roommates? As a first time home buyer the first part of the process should be your pre-approval for financing. Until you have a budget set, not just for payments that you want, but can also afford, you shouldn’t be looking at homes.Here’s a basic timeline of how the purchase process works:Read More
The hardest parts are over: You’re a first time home buyer that found the perfect home, negotiated a deal you're happy with, and secured first time home buyer mortgage — you're now in the home stretch of the home-buying process! Just one more critical hurdle lies ahead: the home closing. Also known as “settlement” or “escrow” this is the process of executing all the required documents and transferring title from the Seller to you!Read More
Congratulations on purchasing your first home. This is a very exciting time in your life and you should feel very good about yourself.Read More
If you are a first time home buyer, and you are thinking about buying your first home, you want to research the different loan options available to you. Just because you are a first time home buyer, that doesn't necessarily mean that a first time home buyer loan is your best option. There are several factors that you want to consider when applying for a loan as a first time home buyer. A lot of first time home buyer's don't have the money for a down payment on a loan. There are a few options with little to no down payment. There is your standard first time home buyer loan or FHA loan. The standard FHA loan requires a down payment of 3.5% of the purchase price of your new home. There is also a first time home buyer renovation loan or FHA 203k loan. You would still need to put down 3.5% of the loan amount. These loans aren't very common, and most lenders will have a 203k specialist that handles them. The Virginia Housing Development Authority, or VHDA, has a first time home buyer loan that is 100% financed, so it is a zero down payment loan. There are a couple of other zero down payment options for your first time home buyer home loan, but you don't need to be a first time home buyer. There is a VA loan or Veteran's Affairs loan, that's a zero down payment loan. You have to be a Veteran or active military to qualify for the loan. If you are buying your first home in a rural area, you may qualify for a USDA loan, or United States Department of Agriculture loan. The USDA loan also has zero down payment. A conventional loan is your standard loan, that normally requires 5% down payment. If you have reserve funds and are able to put 20% down that will take PMI, or private mortgage insurance, off of your payment. All of these loans may have different interest rates and qualifications, so you will want to check with your lender to see which loan best suits your needs. Here is a brief breakdown of each loan, but you will want to check with your lender to see what programs they provide.Read More
The neighborhoods of Northside in Richmond include northern Richmond and some parts of Henrico. These neighborhoods include Bellevue, Barton Heights, Ginter Park, Chestnut Hill Plateau, Rosedale, Washington Park, Highland Park, Sherwood Park, Hermitage Rd, Brooklyn Park, Montrose, and many more. The neighborhood of Northside Richmond began in the late 1800's and can be credited to philanthropist Lewis Ginter and planned by Frederick Law Olmstead Sr. The intent was to have streetcar transportation for businessmen to retreat from the city to the suburbs. The project was not fully realized because of the depression, and most of the houses were constructed from the 1920's to the 1940's. There has been a revitalization in Northside over the few years, and the Northside is now one of the hottest neighborhoods in Richmond. Houses are being purchased as quickly as they are being renovated and for good reason. The homes in Northside Richmond have great charm, character, and history. One of the most popular styles of a home is the "four square home". It is basically exactly as described four squares. They were very popular in the early 1900's and were mainly constructed to maximize the interior of the home on a small city lot. A lot of these homes were actually mail order homes that you could order in a Sears magazine. They were delivered by train boxcar with pre-cut numbered pieces along with instructions on how to assemble. Similar to building a model car, but obviously on a much larger scale. Most of these homes were around streetcar neighborhoods, but the design became so popular they started building them everywhere. These homes have a lot of character with the beautiful molding, high ceilings, hardwood floors, and large front porches.Read More
Buying your first home can be a stressful experience. As a first time home buyer, you want to make sure to do some research before you jump in head first. We have compiled a list of things to avoid when you are a first time home buyer.Read More
The Richmond Real Estate Market is on fire! The interest rates are still very low, which means a lot of first time home buyers are thinking about buying a home. For the first time home buyer, the question is,"how much money do I need to have to buy a home?" That's a great question, and it all depends. When our parents were purchasing a home, they probably had to have 20% of the purchase price of the home to put down as a deposit. This is no longer the case, but a lot of people still think you have to have 20% down. There are several different loan products out there. There are VHDA loans that are 0% down payment. You have to qualify with your credit, and there is an income requirement. If you make too much money, you may not qualify. There are FHA loans that require a 3.5% down payment. There are some grant programs available to assist with the down payment. These are government grants for first time home buyer loans, that are free money toward your down payment. Again, you would need to qualify with credit and income. Then there is a standard conventional loan which has a 5% minimum down payment, at most lending companies. There are also VA loans and USDA loans that have 0% down payment. VA loans are for active military or veterans. USDA loans are for rural areas, and they also have a 0% down payment. Your lender should have a USDA map which will tell you if a property qualifies. There are 203K loans which are renovation loans, but you will want to talk to a lender about renovation loans. They normally have a specialist who works specifically in that field. These are all the possibilities of down payment for just the loan that you may incur.Read More
The emergence of Zillow, Trulia, and Realtor.com in the last 10 years has made it easy for consumers to view homes from the privacy of their own home. Zillow, Trulia, and Realtor.com are not always the most reliable sites for accurate real estate information, but they do give clients a snapshot of their potential future home. The National Association of Realtors has researched that over 90% of home buyers search for their new home online. First impressions in real estate and life, in general, are very important. This is why you want to put your best foot forward when listing your home. You want to make your listing stand out above all the rest. The real estate market is very hot right now, and you don't want your listing to be the one that sits on the market a long time.Read More
If you are a first time home buyer in Richmond, VA you should read this blog post. I am going to break down the home buying process for Richmond real estate. The first thing you will want to do before anything is get pre-qualified, preferably by a local lender. Why a local lender? They are easier to get in contact with when you need them. They will also use local appraisers that are familiar with the real estate market in Richmond. As your local Richmond realtor, I can give you referrals to a few different lenders, but you can use any lender. There are a few reasons you want to get pre-qualified. You don't want to sell yourself short and not get everything you want in a home. You also don't want to be looking at homes that may be above your budget. Getting pre-qualified gives you peace of mind and a price range for your home search. It also helps in negotiations, and in multiple offer situations. If your competition is a buyer who wanted to find what they wanted first, and then get pre-qualified, you are already ahead of the game. Your offer is much more likely to be accepted.Read More