Buying a home is harder than usual these days.  Expect the unexpected.
    That includes a half dozen offers for the house you want.
Bidding wars are more common now.  That’s a surprise for most buyers.  Buyers aren’t expecting the competition, especially if it’s the first home.
    Over two-thirds (69%) of homes had multiple offer in June, The Wall Street Journal just reported (8/27/13).  That was up for 64% last June.  Kentucky is never as heated up as San Francisco, but you get the point.
It’s not enough to find a house anymore.  Now, buyers often have to win a house.
Here’s a special way to boost your odds of winning.
Inspect the house before you bid.
Wining bids simplify the deal.  They stand out, and not just on price.  That’s the secret sauce.  Sellers prefer hassle-free deals.  The less that can go wrong, the better.  The best offer wins.
Simplify your offer by unloading contingencies.  Lots of offers are contingent on a home inspection and financing.  Many have to be.
It is routine, now, to prequalify for financing.
Try the same strategy for the home inspection.  Sure, you want the protection of a home inspection.  Buying without a home inspection is foolish unless you own a remodeling company.
So get the home inspected before you bid.  Then make an offer that waives the right to inspection.  That offer will stand out.  Other offers will be contingent on inspections.  Yours won’t.  And it will take a load off the seller’s mind.
A few hundred bucks for a pre-offer inspection is a cheap price to stand head-and-shoulders above the other bids.  It’s a lot cheaper than throwing in thousands on price in a gamble.  If you loose a bidding battle, you’re back to zero, starting over in your home search.  Sellers care about price, of course, but that’s nowhere near the whole picture.
There are a half dozen other ways to make offers attractive.  Sellers are getting surprised by multiple offers too. They may not have won their own bid for the next home yet.  Almost a dozen homes we inspected last month had sellers moving to hotels when their homes sold sooner than expected.  Buyers with a little flex on when sellers have to move can be worth a lot.
Smart agents are looking for every edge they can get. But it’s still the unusual for agents to coach buyers to inspect before bidding, even though that multiplies their chances of winning. Too often, the only focus is price.  But price also raises costs (which are a percentage of price) way more than a home inspection fee.  Winning bids actually can can save more on price and costs, not to mention your precious time, than the inspection fee.
It’s hard to count the buyers who said they did not want to spend $400 on a home inspection until they knew they had a contract – and then called to say they lost the bid for the home they loved.
Don’t forget owner occupants have advantages over cash.  Cash offers are attractively simple and usually have no contingencies.  But they’re usually from investors who plan to rent it out.
Most sellers want to leave neighbors friends.  Neighbors prefer owners living in the house instead of transient renters.  Stress that you’re getting the home inspected pre-offer because you want to live there.
You can win these bidding battles.
Do what others do not. Get the home inspected as soon as you can.
Then make a truly stand-out offer – without busting the budget.
That’s the best shot a winning the home you really want, and being happy you did.
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