It's easy to believe you don't have much leverage if you're getting ready to buy in a seller's market. Unfortunately, that sense of frustration can result in desperation, which can ultimately lead to overpaying on a home. Before you accept your fate, consider how you may have more power than you think.
Being an early bird in a seller's market is a must, and this is especially true if you run up against a unique situation. For example, let's say a homeowner gets a particularly lucrative job offer. The only catch is that they need to move overseas in just a few weeks. In this case, a seller is going to be motivated by more than just the best offer. They want to see a buyer who can be flexible with their move-in date. If you can speed up the process, you can get the leverage in a seller's market.
Prove Your Reliability
The seller will always look for someone with extremely reliable funding sources because no one wants to deal with the hassle of a lender pulling out at the last minute. When you're negotiating, it doesn't hurt to point out that you're a sure bet in more ways than one. This can encourage a seller to accept less than what they would have received if they'd accepted an offer from someone with a weaker financial history.
Anticipate the Worst
While you do have some degree of control here, you should also be ready for equally prepared competition. Study the terms of the seller to ensure that your offer is made on time and your conditions are stated upfront. Make sure all your supplemental paperwork is airtight and ready to be processed. You can also consider limiting the number of contingencies you have. In a buyer's market, you can ask for the seller to update the plumbing or dismantle the shed. But in a seller's market, you might want to hold back some of your requests.
Watch Your Back
Buyers may need to be more accommodating to sellers if they want to secure a home in a certain neighborhood, but there needs to be boundaries on bending too far backward. There are still money pits out there, even in prime seller's markets. Unsafe structures, dangerous grounds, and changing zoning laws can all be overlooked by an eager buyer in the heat of the moment. That's why it's so important to strike the right balance.
When it comes to negotiating in any market, a real estate agent is usually the best place to start to hone in on the right tactics. They make it easier to spot the properties and sellers who deserve the effort.