This post is sponsored by Redfin. All opinions are entirely my own.
Unless you have nerves of steel, house hunting in a seller’s market is a very emotional process. Since Bryan and I started looking last spring, we’ve learned a lot of things, like:
You CAN lowball an offer and turn off a seller who won’t want to negotiate further (this happened early on in our search when we were still wet behind the ears).
If you have the chance to see a home without other interested buyers, TAKE IT. There is nothing more discouraging than walking into an open house that feels like a block party. These people are all competing with you for this house; you don’t need that kind of added pressure.
Online research is your friend! You’ll want to know everything from school districts (even if you don’t have children—this will factor into desirability and a home’s resale value), what taxes are like, neighborhood, access to major highways, etc.
It is SO crucial to work with a realtor who is communicative and trustworthy; someone who will fight for you and also chime in to point out things you may not have noticed that could potentially affect the value of a home (both good and bad).
We are by no means experts but we made a lot of mistakes early on when we were looking that we wouldn’t do again. We’ve also had to learn that, in a seller’s market, you have to be comfortable going above the asking rate if a house checks off a lot of boxes. Chances are, they are checking off boxes for other buyers, and there could be the potential for a bidding war. Move-in ready houses in particular receive a lot of interest and for good reason—who DOESN’T want to live in a home where you can just unpack and move in?!
While there might not be a lot of houses for sale in NJ, try not to get too discouraged. Some things to help lessen the tension:
Bring granola bars with you at all times (if you’re like me, you’ll get hungry the minute you step foot in a house and it’s never a good idea to see homes on an empty stomach)
Go with a game plan and remember the important things (price, taxes, neighborhood, age of things like roof/furnace, whether the home is on sewer or septic, etc.)
Use your imagination! Walls can be repainted! Sometimes you’ll question a person’s decorating decisions (like this upside down pumpkin light fixture thing. Seriously, the hell is this?!), but remember—IT DOESN’T HAVE TO STAY THERE FOREVER 🙂
Finally (and this is a big one!): remember to have fun, even when you’re burned out, stressed, anxious, and feeling all the feels. Sometimes unexpected light switch covers can provide a much-needed dose of comic relief.
Have you ever been in the market for a house, and what are some things you’ve learned?