By now you have realized that the new buzz words in the Boston real estate market are “lack of inventory” and “multiple offer” situations. This is a highly competitive market and why we’ve written about multiple offers before – from both a seller’s and buyer’s perspective. In this case, if you are trying to buy in a condo in Boston there are some things you should do to improve your chances of winning a multiple offer situation.
1. Learn the Market
This process starts long before an offer is even make. Your preparation is key. Attend a Boston home buyer class. Know the home buying timeline. Schedule a consultation with your buyers agent for an in depth analysis of the location you would like to live prior to going out and looking at properties. It’s more important then ever to understand the real estate market. Not just the general news and stats you can pick up in the newspaper, but the real “micro-local” trends and stats. For instance, if you’re buying in the Back Bay, it pays to learn key nuggets of information like the fact that there is a 10% price variance from the sunny side of the street compared to the opposite side of the same street.
2. Hire the Right Buyer Agent
Sit down to meet a buyer agent face to face for thorough initial buyer consultation and explain your needs. Make sure their’s a fit between your needs and their service. Work with a buyers agent that you trust. This might be most important since buying a home is most likely the biggest purchase of your life. If an agent you call doesn’t offer an initial consultation with you (or better yet, demand one), then run. Your agent needs to know you and your needs thoroughly to properly advise you. In turn, you need to trust your agent to guide you in the right direction.
Choose an agent who knows the nuances of the different locations within Boston. The relationships and expertise your agent has within the market can pay dividends. For example, in South Boston several agents will hold an informal, non-advertised open house within a day or so of listing a property. Work with a buyers agent who will get you in before the property is gone.
In the Back Bay and South End agents are more likely to have first showings at weekend open houses. Work with a buyers agent who will get you into as many comparative properties as possible prior to the open house so you can effectively gauge the quality and make a good offer. These days, there is no “sleeping on it” when you see the right property – hot properties will get multiple offers the day of the open house. You need to be prepared to move quickly but you need to see enough properties beforehand to have that comfort level.
3. Prepare a Detailed Comparative Market Analysis
Have your buyers agent present you with a detailed comparative market analysis (CMA) to get an accurate valuation of the property you’re interested in. The Boston market is trending up and week to week market variance can change how much you need to offer for a property. Make sure they are analyzing “real time” market data including sale pending properties and active properties – not just sold properties. Looking at specific properties coming on and going off the market weekly will give you a much better idea of the market than monthly sold statistics of properties that first went under contract months ago.
4. Construct a Desirable Offer
Work with a buyers agent who knows how to write a competitive offer. For some sellers it is all about price. For others the terms of the contract are just as important. Given similar offers the one with the terms that meet the sellers needs will win out. A good buyers agent will learn what terms work best for a seller and how to convey that in your offer. It’s always a fantastic feeling when an offer that may not be the highest price is accepted because the terms of the offer are better. This really just comes down to the diligence and hard work of your agent to discover that information rather than taking the easy route of paying more money. For more information about making your offer stand out, read my colleague’s post: Negotiating Multiple Offers: Does the Highest Bid Always Win?
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