3. Choose the right partners.
Connect with real estate agents and lenders with local experience. “It's important to have someone on your side who is nimble, able to respond quickly, and ultimately chase a deal,” Giacomo notes. Ask friends and family members for recommendations, read online reviews, and interview agents before entering into the relationship.
Consulting a list of your agent’s preferred lenders can help you find one that fits your needs. “The reputation of the lender makes a difference,” Dickerson says. A trustworthy, speedy lender gives you an edge when the listing agent reviews and compares the offers.
4. Write a winning offer.
“There’s no way to guarantee that an offer will be accepted and you’ll get a house,” notes Simmons. That’s particularly true if sellers can choose from many offers, as is likely in this market. That said, these tactics can increase your chances:
- Include your preapproval letter with your offer.
- Feel out what sellers want. “[Your agent] will be able to ask the listing agent if there are specific aspects that the sellers are looking for in their offer,” says Giacomo. They might want a faster closing timeline or the ability to rent back the home after closing. “A seller is more likely to go with the option or offer that favors their needs,” she says.
- Up your earnest money deposit. Going beyond 3 percent will show that you’re serious about making the purchase.
- Include escalation clauses. If someone counteroffers, you can bake in the amount you’re willing to increase your offer.
- Up your offer. The highest offer often gets prioritized. Look at the going price of similar area homes, and offer more than that amount. For this tactic, an agent can help decipher the best strategy, Dickerson notes.
- If possible, make a cash offer. An all-cash offer speeds up closing time and removes any risk of your financing falling through, which sellers appreciate.
- Speed up the timeline. A quicker close means that the seller gets the money sooner, says Dickerson. This process will go faster if you’re preapproved, if you can make an all-cash offer, or if you waive contingencies.