How To Be The Winning Buyer in a Crazy Seller’s Market

It’s hard to not hear about it here in the Austin area–how many people are moving here per week, per day, how home prices are rising, or just hearing the phrase “total seller’s market.”  What does all of that mean for someone wanting to buy a home here? What should you do to be the best prepared buyer and get your offer accepted?  We’ll take a peek at this today.

Most basically, a seller’s market (in real estate) is one indicated by a low inventory of homes for sale in area.  To further elaborate–Anything less then 4 months of home inventory is considered to be a ‘seller’s market’, in which because there aren’t enough homes for sale/homes selling so quickly the seller’s have the advantage.


Working with a Realtor can help you figure out if the area you’re looking in is a tighter seller’s market then others.  Generally speaking, it’s a seller’s market in the Austin area across the board–but there are areas where you might have more luck then others as far as advantage goes.  Also, did you know as a buyer you don’t pay a Realtor to help you find and negotiate your home deal. True story–so, I’m a bit biased here, but I HIGHLY recommend you enlist a Realtor when home searching.  They can do the work for you, find the homes–some of which maybe you weren’t even considering, pull market reports, write and negotiate the offers, ride through multiple offer situations, and work with the seller’s side instead of you having to do it…kind of nice 🙂


Okay, and now for some tips going into a home search in a seller’s market!


Tip #1: Don’t lowball your offers

One good way to get your offer rejected or passed over in a multiple offer situation is to low-ball.  Like I mentioned above, your Realtor should have pulled that CMA (comparative market analysis) and come up with a fair offer range for you.  If they haven’t–they should.  Now, to be fair, if the home is indeed well overpriced–a reasonable offer at what looks to be market value is okay.  However, if the CMA and your Realtor find the price is pretty spot-on, and you want to offer $20k less in a fast-moving market-don’t expect it to be accepted.




Tip #2: Be willing to put up more earnest money

Here’s the thing, most folks do 1% of the purchase price–which is fine, but if you know it’s going to be a tough offer situation (again-multiple offers) you may want to think about putting up more in earnest money.  It just makes the offer look that much more serious–and when you close, it’s credited to you anyways–so if you’re able to do put it up, I would.


Offer accepted!

Tip #3:  Don’t ask for anything!

What I mean here is that, when you get into these types of tight offer/multiple offer situations (which your Realtor will make you aware of quickly) You want to have the cleanest offer you can.  Don’t ask for the fridge, the TV, the grill, painting certain rooms, nada.   You don’t want to lose a possible bidding war over fridge, trust me!

Tip #4:  Working the contract a bit

Here, I’m saying–maybe a shorter option period would look better to a seller (it gives you a little less time to get the inspection done/back out).  Or offering to pay for a survey if the property requires it.  Adding to that, maybe offering to pay the seller’s title costs.  Again, your Realtor can advise you here–but when you’re in a multiple offer situation, every little bit helps.


I cannot stress this one enough–which is why I put it last, so that hopefully it sticks with you.  You will waste A LOT of time without a pre-approval letter.  You may want to look at homes too expensive for what you can actually afford–and then be totally let down when it comes to wanting to put an offer in.  Unless you’re paying for a home in cash–you’re going to have to go through a lender eventually so, why not just do it at the start of the process and save yourself the hassle?


Not to toot my company’s own horn here–but if you need a solid recommendation, Coldwell Banker Mortgage is awesome.  I mean, before I was in real estate, I used them for my own home and had nothing but a great experience and LOADS of communication with the staff there when my husband and I were freaking out about the loan/appraisals/everything.  I work with an mortgage advisor in our office here who is so quick to get folks pre-approved, and will bust his butt in every which way to get you approved in any way he can.

His name: Mannon Harmon and let him know I sent you-I don’t get anything out of the deal other then knowing that he takes care of my clients and keeps my clients and myself updated on every step of the of the transaction.  Mannon is..well, the man!


That does it for my buyer’s tips today–Your Realtor should be able to guide you through these tips and the steps to make a great offer in this tight market, when we’re running into so many multiple-offer situations, but being aware of these tips ahead of time will just make you a more savvy home-buyer.




Peace, love, and house-keys!


Realtor Krissy


Thinking about selling? Here’s some quick tips to get ready!

I’ve been showing a lot of houses recently, and some are great…some others…I can’t imagine leaving my home that way on a daily basis, nonetheless when my home would be on the market.  I know how silly it sounds that some people can’t see past clutter, or personal knick-knacks-but the fact of the matter is–if you want your home to be shown, and you want offers (lease OR selling) there are two HUGE factors you need to remember:

1)Do not overprice your home-it doesn’t matter how good the market is, if you overprice your home, it will sit…and sit…and sit on the market.

And 2)Make sure your home shows well!

It’s been seen that homes in show-able staged condition, sell roughly 3-10% higher, and 60% faster then homes that aren’t…s0….

Here’s are some easy tips to get your home ready to be shown to hungry buyers!


1) Curb appeal, baby–What was it you saw about your home when you initially saw it that made you go, “Yeah, let’s look at that one!” ?  Make sure the house looks good from the street, and makes buyers want to pump the brakes in front of your home.  It doesn’t take much–mow the grass, replant some flowers, rip some weeds, and some fresh mulch always looks nice.  Some people will touch-up the paint on their patio, and some paint the door a contrasting color to stand out.  The standard used to be red if you wanted to sell your house–but I have seen some doors go to blue and green tones depending on the color of the home–and they look gorgeous.

Also, here in Texas fire ant hills go up pretty quickly–take care of those babies when you see ’em.



2)Clean it!–Pretty straightforward, but do it up right.  Dust the entire house and the tops of the furniture you haven’t seen in years.  Get down and scrub the tops baseboards.  Get the white doors and molding around them–I’m always surprised when I look closely how dirty those suckers can get (and all the doors in my house are WHITE!). That granite counter that’s so colorful, make sure you scrub it–sometimes those speckles hide stuck on food!  Corners behind decorations–get those cobwebs!  Sweep and mop all the hard floors (and I mean MOP, not swiffer!), vacuum carpets and use those attachments that you haven’t used in a year to get into the corners of the carpet.  Those clear shower doors and tubs–scrub them down.  The point is-make everything shiny for the possible buyers.  Even if the buyers are inherently tidy people, they still want to see/buy tidy homes.


3)Get rid of clutter/pictures–This one is hard for some folks.  Sometimes people are downright offended when it comes to taking down personalized decorations, and I get that, honestly.  When I was a kid and our Realtor asked that we take down all our family pictures, I had the attitude of “WELL, this is STILL my house!”  The thing is, people need to be able to picture living there, right?  Pictures of weddings for people they don’t know, or babies they’ve never met is something that can deter people, as silly as that sounds.  Momentos of your honeymoon in Europe, fridge magnents, and your kiddo’s drawings don’t mean anything to people who don’t know you-plain and simple. Sometimes, you do what you must to fulfill what you want to do in life.  So wrap them up, pop them in box and call it a day.  In the end, your house may sell faster because of your forward thinking and your ability to put emotion aside–and the pictures/momentos will still be there for your new home.

House clutter

Well….the cabinet wood seems nice…

This goes for extra furniture in the home-and if you’re 1) willing to pay for storage or 2) have the storage space in a garage-try to get the home staged with less furniture.  It opens up space and allows buyers to see the potential of that space(Do you see what I’m getting at here–we have got to be on the ‘what the buyer wants’ mindset’.  If you can go without it, get it out of the main living areas and store it.

4) Cast out the darkness!–You may like your black-out curtains, but a buyer may not.  I’m not saying you have to remove them, but if you know you’ve got buyers coming to look at the home–or an open house this weekend, open up those curtains, and pull up the blinds.  Let the light in.  In more interior rooms make sure all lights are on.

5) Sell those extra features–If you’ve got a pool, make sure you turn on any fountains/waterfalls that are within the pool–it makes people make that “Oooooo, Ahhhh” noise 🙂  Same goes for any fountains or water features in front of the home.  Open the hot tub and turn the jets on–make it bubbly.   Any special lighting you’ve had installed–make sure it’s on before buyers come over!   That formal dining area you never use (me neither), set it–get some plates, some rolled up cloth napkins, a centerpiece and maybe some candlesticks.PoolWaterfall

6) Get Fido or Mittens out–I know–I love animals, too, but here’s the deal.  Plenty of people don’t–they don’t have pets, they don’t want pets, they don’t want their children thinking the pets come with the house, people have crazy allergies–you see where I’m going here?  If you’re selling your house and you’ve got buyers coming–you’ve got to 1) Take them with you for a while, 2)Contain them to a garage or some crate within the house, or 3) Take them to a family/friend’s house for the time you are selling.  It stinks, I know–but if your pet is going to yelp for 20 minutes while buyers are trying to look at the house, they’re going to get annoyed, I promise you.  If one of them starts to sneeze because they can’t handle cat/dog danger–they won’t stay long enough to take in the all the greatness to your home.    Make sure litter boxes are taken care of, and the yard doesn’t have a mine field of doggy poo, too.  I haven’t heard once yet, “Remember that house with all the dog crap in the back?! That one-I’ll take it!”

7) Smell goods– Yes, you know, break out the ‘smell goods’.  Even if you don’t think your home needs it–it’s good to have a clean scent in the home for buyers.  I’m not suggesting you leave candles on in the home-but Febreze it up a bit before you leave for work or before buyers come for an appointment.  Something fresh like “Clean Cotton/Linen” is light enough to spruce it up without overpowering people.Febreze


Alright?  Sound good?  Let’s get you house SOLD! 🙂


Peace, love, and house keys,



Realtor Krissy