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Top Tips for Home Buyers and Sellers in a Competitive Market

By Ryan Taaffe, REALTOR® | Keller Williams Realty

This may not be breaking news, but it’s a great time to sell a home. Even if you haven’t followed the real estate market closely, there’s a good chance you’ve heard about homes selling for tens of thousands above the asking price. This does happen, but it takes more work than simply putting a “For Sale” sign in your yard. The next three steps – coupled with the guidance of a skilled REALTOR® – will help you accomplish your goals.

Plan Ahead

Are you moving out before listing your home for sale, or do you need to sell first so you can use the money to buy your next home? The selling strategy changes depending on your circumstances, so make sure you have a firm grasp on your needs before tours are being scheduled. Your REALTOR® should be able to share options for getting your home sold in the way that best meets your needs.

Make Your Home Look its Best

No matter the state of the market or the price of your home, it never hurts to make it look as nice as possible before selling. Cleaning is a must, but another crucial component is professional photography. This can make your home appear brighter, larger, and more appealing to a wider audience. With the vast majority of home buyers starting their search online, these pictures are the key to generating interest in – and offers to purchase – your home. You don’t get a second chance to make a good first impression!

Price Appropriately

It’s okay to be a little aspirational, but overpricing your home may end up hurting you in the long run. Buyers and their agents could end up ignoring your home if it’s pricier than comparable properties and it doesn’t stack up to others at the same price point. Then, if your home sits on the market for too long, some may worry that there’s a problem with it. Fortunately for you, in today’s market, a well-priced home that’s marketed properly can lead to multiple offers – often in a matter of days. Competition between potential buyers may drive your sale price higher than you’d even imagined!

Despite the competitive market we’re in, it’s still possible for buyers to accomplish their goals, too. The competition can be daunting, especially for first-time buyers, but this doesn’t mean you have to wait. Buyers: set yourself up for success by taking the following actions before and during your search for a new home.

Plan Ahead

Just like sellers, you need a plan! For buyers, it’s especially important because of how quickly homes are selling – and how quickly you may need to close. Know your needs, wants, and financial limitations, and talk with your REALTOR® about how to write a competitive offer.

Act or Adjust

When you find a home that has everything you need and most of what you want, then you should at least consider writing an offer! With few homes for sale and lots of buyers shopping, it probably won’t be on the market for long. If you’re not ready to move forward, it’s time to revisit your criteria. Think about what else you might need in order to feel comfortable writing an offer.

Remember the Big Picture

This is crucial both before and after your offer is accepted. When you’re writing the offer, it’s always appealing to offer less and try to get a deal, but if you’ll miss out altogether – is it worth it? While it can be a tough pill to swallow, a stronger offer could help you “win” the home of your dreams. After you’ve had an offer accepted and you’ve completed an inspection, you might have to revisit this issue. There’s a good chance your inspector will include something in their report, but is it worth putting up a fight? In today’s market, the seller may not need to cover the cost of any repairs in order to sell their home. If you start over with another home, you could find yourself in the same position again. Every case is different, but it’s important to keep a level head and weigh the costs of moving forward or backing out.

You might be asking, “If it’s so competitive right now, why bother?” Well, along with the many personal and financial benefits of owning a home, mortgage rates are historically low. They have inched upward in recent weeks, but they’re still hovering around 3 percent. For comparison, rates a year ago were closer to 3.5 percent, and in 2019, they were above 4 percent. This may sound insignificant, but depending on the size of your loan, it could lower your mortgage payments by hundreds of dollars every month.

If you have questions about looking for a new home, writing a winning offer, or anything else related to real estate, I would be happy to help. Please don’t hesitate to reach out at (804) 627-1643 or

Ryan Taaffe, REALTOR® | Keller Williams Realty

#realestate #housingmarket #homebuying #firsttimehomebuyer

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