St. Louis Real Estate Blog

Four tips for buying a home in a buyer's market

August 13th, 2008 12:55 PM by Melanie Mitchell - Team Lead/Listing Specialist

By Holden Lewis · Bankrate.com     

Now is a great time to buy a house. Prices are falling, mortgage rates are still affordable, millions of houses are for sale, and sellers are getting anxious.

That's one way of looking at it.

Alternatively, buyers could say: This is a bad time to buy a house. Prices might be lower in a few months. More homes are being added daily and sellers are bound to become more desperate. Why not wait them out?

Falling prices make buyers happy. But they complicates matters. There can be too many choices to sort through. The experts advise to not get sidetracked by market forces you cannot control. Buyers should adhere to these four guidelines instead.

If you find the right house at the right price, buy it
You have to decide whether you will actively shop or hope to stumble on a steal. Predicting the bottom in a local market is difficult. Someone could buy your favorite house out from under you while you passively wait for a better price.  Once that one is gone, it is almost impossible to find another one that measures up to the one lost.

Put a buyer's agent to good use
Search real estate Web sites. If you find a house you like, ask your agent to perform a comparative market analysis. Compare your research with your agent's. If they corroborate each other, fine. If something seems amiss, find out why. An experienced buyers agent is almost surely more accurate.

Negotiate effectively
Avoid the temptation to toss out lowball offers. Sellers won't negotiate if they feel insulted. You have to be able to defend your offer as much as the seller has to be able to defend the asking price.  Having a buyer specialist in your corner will help you get the most for you money.

Avoid gimmicks
You're shopping for a house, not for a Caribbean cruise or a car lease. Sellers who add gimmicky incentives create a distraction to serious negotiation. If there's an incentive, make sure it has something to do with the dwelling.

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Posted by Melanie Mitchell - Team Lead/Listing Specialist on August 13th, 2008 12:55 PM

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