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5 Tips to Help You Compete in the Current Seller’s Market and Secure Your Dream Boston Home

Navigating the rocky waters of a seller’s market doesn’t make for the smoothest experience for aspiring Boston homebuyers—we hear you.

The same prognosis remains short-term: Limited inventory can’t keep up with buyer demand, many offers are over-asking price, and competition remains stiff. Luckily, experts are able to offer insights you can use to strengthen the hull and weather the storm more effectively.

Below, the team from Prevu Real Estate breaks down the essential tips you can leverage, from getting cash back in your pocket via commission rebates to preparing an effective offer so you can have an easier time buying a Boston home amid a competitive seller’s market.

Follow a structured budget

A seller’s market means competition. When you find a home you like, you can bet that other buyers will also like it, which results in bidding wars that can potentially raise your purchase price well above the asking price. If you allow yourself to get swept away by the flurry of offer deadlines, it can likely cause economic duress by stretching your budget.

Instead of getting pulled in to the competition and spending more than you planned, staying committed to your price range will help you avoid those financial woes down the line.

Having a structured plan that accounts for a down payment, closing costs, and backup funds in case you need to offer above the asking price is key. But even more important than the budget itself is committing to the limit you feel comfortable with and only looking at properties within that well-planned budget.

Hire an experienced buyer’s agent

A seller’s market often tips the scales against the buyer, so every tool you have at your disposal to optimize the odds is essential. One of those tools that can come in handy is an experienced buyer’s agent. Having a trustworthy professional on your team can make your negotiation strategy more effective, especially because hammering out a deal becomes more nuanced in a seller’s market.

Additionally ,you may feel disadvantaged in a seller’s market, but you still want to pay as fair a price as possible. Partnering with a broker provides data and insights from the local Multiple Listing Service (MLS), which helps your agent make a comparative market analysis of homes in your desired area. It’s a fancy way of saying: “Let’s see if the price on this home is fair compared to other recent sales in the neighborhood.”

Lastly, don’t forget to utilize your agent’s professional network to explore any available off-market listings. Homes that haven’t yet appeared on major real estate sites aren’t as visible to competing buyers, so if your agent helps you find one of these more elusive properties, it can potentially allow you to scoop your dream home before competition comes along.

Unlock savings via commission rebates

If you still aren’t convinced of the perks a dedicated agent can offer in a seller’s market, consider this: A buyer’s agent is the only way to secure a commission rebate after purchasing your dream home—you can get thousands back after closing. Tech-forward brokerages like Prevu Real Estate utilize a streamlined digital homebuying platform and a team of full-time agents to unlock those commission rebates for Boston homebuyers.

That way, if you do get caught in a Boston bidding war and are forced to make a competitive offer that tips the scales in your favor, you can count on that rebate to put money back in your pocket. The extra cash can also be key for home improvement endeavors, bolstering your furnishing and renovation budget. Prevu currently offers the largest rebate in Massachusetts, allowing buyers to potentially receive up to 2% of a home’s purchase price back after they close.

For example, if you purchase a $1,800,000 home in Newton via Prevu, you could receive up to $36,000 cash back via the brokerage’s Smart Buyer Rebate.

Expand your search

Limited inventory is one of the biggest hurdles in a seller’s market. To navigate it, buyers might consider expanding their search as much as possible.

The City of Firsts has much to offer but also hosts a lot of competition for desirable listings. Consider expanding your search to additional neighborhoods or towns. Casting a wider net can improve your chances of finding more inventory—and potentially securing a better price—as you move farther from the hottest areas with lower numbers of homes for sale in suburbs like Lexington or Weston. Instead, look to neighborhoods like Somerville and Jamaica Plain, which are less competitive and have more available inventory.

It helps to have a clear “must-have” list of things you need in a home. If the length of your commute is negotiable, then explore cities or neighborhoods a bit farther from your place of work. If proximity to popular restaurants is at the top of your list, consider reducing the square footage of your home purchase and exploring condos or townhouses to preserve your budget.

Come prepared with a fully underwritten pre-approval

A basic mortgage pre-approval is expected for any offer a buyer makes; consider getting a fully underwritten pre-approval to help make your offer stand out in this difficult market for buyers.

A pre-approval shows the seller that your lender has done most of their due diligence in advance so that you can close more quickly. Time is of the essence in any real estate market, and a fully underwritten pre-approval shows you have the financial capability to commit to the transaction, and likely sooner than a non pre-approved buyer.

Your fully underwritten pre-approval also allows you to consider waiving your financing contingency. The more contingencies you can comfortably forego, the stronger your offer will seem to the seller, as they have fewer hurdles to worry about.

Waiving contingencies may bolster your offer

Skipping inspection or appraisal contingencies can sweeten the deal for the seller and increase the chances of your offer being accepted during a bidding war.

But while waiving a financing contingency comes with less risk when you have the necessary underwriting secured from your lender, other contingencies can be riskier to set aside—work closely with your agent when considering waiving other contingencies on your offer. You’ll have to be content with the implications and potential costs if any repair issues are uncovered later.

This is where your budget will come in handy. If you take the time to set aside a sufficient emergency fund, you can have more breathing room to take on the risk of waiving the above contingencies to help secure the home purchase.

Interested in buying a home in the Boston area? Browse listings and see how much you can save with Prevu’s Smart Buyer Rebate.