CHICAGO – Dec. 15, 2016 – Homebuyers anxious to move into their new house in a hurry may be discouraged to discover that the average time from contract to close is 50 days, according to Ellie Mae. But Realtors can help clients shorten that timeframe by encouraging a more focused home search and being proactive about paperwork, among other things.
An organized buying process is particularly important for relocation clients and customers who hope to sell one property before buying another. In both cases, buyers tend to be working against tight moving deadlines.
Tips to help buyers complete a transaction faster:
- Get pre-approved, not just pre-qualified. A pre-qualification is just a quick conversation with a lender who may have only glanced at the borrower’s credit score. A pre-approval is a more thorough review of their credit history. A pre-approval “makes your offer look stronger,” says Adriana Mollica, a sales associate with Teles Properties in Beverly Hills, Calif. “It also minimizes any surprises that may delay or force a cancelation during escrow.”
- Narrow down options. Buyers with have a long wish list of desired home features are rarely satisfied by the houses they see. Realtors should have a heart-to-heart talk if these buyers also hope to move in quickly and discuss whether their desires are plausible for the area and price range they’re searching in, says Michael Shaffer, broker-associate at LIV Sotheby’s International Realty in Greenwood Village, Colo. Buyers should narrow their wish list down to the top must-have features and look at only at homes that fit the criteria.
- Look at homes that have lingered on the market. Homeowners who haven’t sold quickly enough are often the most motivated to negotiate a deal. Buyers should understand the leverage they have when making an offer on a home that has been on the market for a long time, but remember that “a long time” means different things in different various areas. “In some markets, that may be a week or two,” Shaffer says. “In others, it could be a year or more.”
- Don’t make lowball offers. A strong offer doesn’t have to meet the full list price – but it may mean vowing to make a larger downpayment, offering up more earnest money or accepting an early closing date. Sellers who have a sense of commitment from a buyer may be more likely to accept an offer, particularly as the end of the year nears.
- Waive contingencies – maybe. Contingency clauses notoriously spark delays, but buyers should weigh whether to give them up. Some contingencies may be worth fighting for. Clients shouldn’t suffer from buyer’s remorse later or land in financial trouble because they waived contingencies.
- Put paperwork in order. Buyers should already have at least three months of bank statements, pay stubs and letters of explanation for any unusual expenses or financial gifts that are being applied toward a downpayment. Even with a pre-approval, buyers will need paperwork to finalize the transaction, and having it ready upfront could save time. “In most cases, things get held up because paperwork and information isn’t readily available,” says Raena Casteel of the Casteel Little Real Estate Group in Tucson, Ariz.
Source: “Got the Need for Speed? 10 Timely Tricks for Buying a Home in a Hurry,” realtor.com® (Dec. 12, 2016)
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