Trying to buy a home in the Okanagan right now feels a bit like an episode of The Amazing Race.
Ideally, when you're buying a home, you take your time — save your down payment, get your mortgage pre-approval in place, make a plan, consider multiple options, then make an offer on your dream home.
It seems like clients can’t get in to look at homes quickly enough to make an offer, never mind take a night to consider if their potential dream home truly checks all the boxes.
During the last week, I’ve had six sets of clients trying to buy homes:
- Two of them haven’t found anything they loved.
- One couple was successful negotiating an accepted offer.
- The other three have made offers on homes that went into multiple offer situations.
Of those three, two tapped out when they found that the houses they were interested in were selling for almost $50,000 over the list price.
The third couple went up to the $50,000 over asking and are the backup offer in case the first-place offer falls through.
All these couples have told me that their realtors are watching new listings like a hawk, and they are to the point that they are taking time off work to look at homes if they feel it might be close to the right fit.
As soon as a viewing is booked, they make a run for the house and hope that there is not already an offer being negotiated.
Another dynamic is that some sellers are waiting a few days and looking at all offers at the same time to see which one they want to accept.
I think this is part of what is driving prices up and contributing to the frantic environment potential homebuyers are facing.
Good for sellers, not so great for buyers right now.
If you are shopping for a home, my suggestion is to make sure you are crystal clear about your maximum price point. Have your pre-approval in place and have all of your documents to your mortgage person as soon as possible so there are no last-minute surprises.
One young couple I’ve been working with for a few months initially decided on a maximum price point. They knew what they had to do to get there.
After looking for at least four months, they have now realized they have to increase that price point to find anything even remotely close to what they would like to buy.
When they became frustrated at not finding anything they could afford, we revisited their application.
With a few small tweaks, they are now hunting for a home almost $100,000 higher than where they started. In their case, it is a matter of taking part of what they saved for their down payment and paying off a car loan.
Sometimes a fresh set of eyes can help you fine-tune your application.
If you have been looking for a bit and find yourself needing to revisit your pre-approval, it’s a great idea to reach out to your mortgage person to see if there are any changes you can make to put you into a better position moving forward with an offer.
If you are starting to hunt for a home now, make sure you have your financing lined up before you reach out to a realtor.
You need to be ready to go in case you find your dream home right away. Having your ducks in a row may mean the difference between being the successful purchaser or missing out on a new home.
This article is written by or on behalf of an outsourced columnist and does not necessarily reflect the views of Castanet.