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5 tips for house hunting in a seller’s market

·6 min read
house viewing
Photo via Getty Images

You've saved up for your down payment, your financials are in order, and your real estate agent has started sending you listings to look over—it's an exciting time! Housing demand being what it is in some markets, however, means that the perfect home you’ve been eyeing is likely going to seem just as perfect to countless others. You shouldn’t let that stop you from putting your foot through the threshold, though.

For aspiring buyers ready to explore home ownership but intimidated by the current seller’s market, doing your research, seeking out sound advice, and having a strong financial plan in place can help quell any first-time jitters, so you can focus on the excitement that comes with finding your first home. While you can’t control things like low inventory and high asking prices, there are steps you can take to remove undue stress and anxiety from your house hunt, and QuestMortgage® is here to help.

A totally new way to get a mortgage that promises an easy online application and speedy pre-approval, QuestMortgage BetterRate™ mortgages offer an enticing alternative to the traditional mortgage process. With great low rates and a team of expert Mortgage Advisors to offer guidance, QuestMortgage can help you navigate the road to home ownership no matter the market.

Here are five tips to keep in mind when house-hunting in today’s ultra-competitive housing landscape.

Start preparing

Our budget might be a bit stretched
Photo via Getty Images

Purchasing a home in a seller’s market means facing plenty of competition, and increased demand plus limited inventory is a prime recipe for rising prices. While that’s great news for sellers, it’s certainly not ideal for buyers. So if you want to get into a hot housing market, there are some things you can do to prepare.

This doesn’t mean you should feel pressure to rush into a purchase you’re not ready for (or, worse, that you can’t afford). Buying a home is a major investment – for most homeowners, it’ll be the biggest purchase of their lives – so once you’ve decided you’re ready to house hunt, it’s wise to get a realistic picture for your budget before you start falling in love with listings that are well out of your price range.

The QuestMortgage Affordability Calculator is a great tool to help you get a better feel for how much house you can afford without overextending your finances. Have additional mortgage questions? QuestMortgage has a team of expert Mortgage Advisors available by phone or email to help answer any concerns you may have to ensure your house hunt gets off on the right foot.

Get pre-approved for a mortgage

Smiling young multiracial gay couple working online together with a laptop while relaxing in their living room at home
Photo via Getty Images

One of the keys to getting ahead in a seller’s market is having your affairs in order—financial proof that you’re not just window shopping, but ready to get down to business. Getting pre-approved for a mortgage can help you house-hunt with increased confidence.

With QuestMortgage, you can get pre-approved for a mortgage without ever visiting a branch. The online application process takes mere minutes, and advisors are available to help you every step of the way.

Tailor your offer to the seller

Real estate agent make offer for couple selects housing options, showing services presentation on laptop, choose new or secondary property for long term rental. Family and advisor discuss deal concept
Photo via Getty Images

An asking price is just that—a starting point. In a hot housing market, you’ll likely have to negotiate your way to a sale, which means figuring out how to put your best foot forward when preparing an offer. If you underbid, the seller may think you’re not taking them seriously, so your real estate agent may suggest that you come in with a competitive offer. And if a bidding war could potentially take you over budget, it’s crucial to go in with an upper limit in mind to avoid getting caught up in the emotions of the moment when offering on a house. In a situation where you’re competing with multiple offers, sometimes the smartest move is to know when to walk away.

That said, there’s often more to closing a deal than price alone. Try to get a feel for the seller, and the home itself. Inquire about the history of the property, including the memories they’ve made in it along the way. Offer insight as to why you’re interested in the house by including a letter to the seller as part of your bid; you can compliment your favourite parts about the design, establish what you love about the neighbourhood or detail your long-term plans. You don’t have to become best friends in order to close the deal, but establishing an honest, personal connection with a seller can remind them that you’re more than just a number on a page and help set your offer apart from the pack.

Focus on a neighbourhood, and be prepared to move quickly

As they stand outside the home, the mid adult female potential buyer gestures as she asks the unrecognizable mid adult female real estate agent questions about the property.
Photo via Getty Images

Listings can come and go fast in a seller’s market, which is why it’s important to focus on a neighbourhood that suits your needs and budget, so when you’re interested in a property, you can book a showing ASAP. Not only will this give you more time to consider whether you’d like to make an offer, it also gives you an opportunity to go back and see the home more than once if you’d like—or even put in a preemptive bid before the seller’s official offer date.

Striking quickly after a house has hit the market doesn’t mean you’re about to make an impulse purchase, but if you’re truly feeling confident that this is the house for you, coming in with an attractive early offer can give you a leg up on the competition and potentially help you avoid a bidding war that might take the property beyond your budget. This is why having your financials sorted and mortgage pre-approval is such an important first step, allowing you to move quickly and with confidence when you see a house you want.

If you can’t save on price, save on your mortgage

Happy confident house tenant woman enjoying being at new home, standing in living room interior with folded arms, looking away with thoughtful face, smiling at good thoughts, plans, future vision
Photo via Getty Images

There’s simply no avoiding the reality that increased demand leads to higher prices, meaning you may have to pay more for a house in a seller’s market than you would have in a more balanced one. That said, while you may not be able to save on the price you pay for your home, you can still save on interest with QuestMortgage BetterRates™.

That’s because BetterRate™ mortgages offer aspiring buyers transparent, low rates right from the start, often at more competitive interest rates than traditional lenders such as banks. By saving on interest, you’ll get to keep more money in your pocket as you pay off your mortgage. Plus, once you’re pre-approved online, you’ll be able to hold that rate for 120 days if needed.

Buying a house in a seller’s market will take time, patience and resolve, but simplifying the mortgage process with QuestMortgage can help remove unneeded stress from the equation, allowing you to house-hunt with confidence, and putting you one step closer to moving into the home of your dreams.

There’s a new way to mortgage. Learn more about QuestMortgage.

All mortgage applications are subject to meeting QuestMortgage standard credit criteria, residential mortgage standards and maximum permitted loan amounts. All rates are subject to change at any time without notice. Advertised interest rates are for approved QuestMortgage applications that meet qualification conditions and interest rates available at pre-approval may be higher.

Pre-approval may only be available for certain mortgage terms. The purpose of the pre-approval is to hold an interest rate for you that will not be exceeded while the Pre-approval Rate Hold Guarantee is in effect and can only be used if you are approved for a QuestMortgage. Your pre-approved interest rate is subject to the Pre-approval Rate Hold Guarantee, which applies from the time you are pre-approved for a period of up to 120 days, after which this guarantee expires; other conditions may apply. Pre-approval does not provide any form of guarantee that you will be approved for a mortgage. The values and figures shown to you cannot be used as an offer to obtain a mortgage or for the approval of any particular mortgage terms. Your approval for a mortgage or a loan requires additional information and verification, and depends on your circumstances at that time. Therefore, you will still be required to go through the full QuestMortgage application process before you may be approved for a mortgage of any kind.

The information and opinions in this material are for information purposes only and should not be used or construed as real-estate, mortgage, financial, or investment advice or recommendations by CTC or any of its affiliates.

Questrade, Inc. and Community Trust Company (“CTC”) are subsidiaries of Questrade Financial Group. QuestMortgage® is a service provided by CTC. QuestMortgage, licensed to CTC, is a trademark of Questrade, Inc. © 2022, Questrade, Inc. All Rights Reserved.