It’s really official now. It’s a sellers’ market. The bottom of the market has already hit and the trend of rising home values continues into fall 2012. The Orlando Regional Realtors Association reported an increase in median sales price of 12 percent since January. If you’re a buyer in the Orlando area you are acutely aware of how hot the market is, as you likely have to compete with other offers to get the home of your choice. So how do you stand out and get what you want in a market with rising prices and multiple offers? Simply put, strategy. Buyers and sellers alike can find success and great deals right now by implementing the right approach.
Let’s start with the buyers. If you have been actively looking to purchase a home in Orlando, you’ve seen firsthand how important this is. Homes priced right with desirable features or good potential return on investments move fast, so set yourself up for success. Ask your agent to set up a listings email alert in the multiple listings service for you in your desired area matching the features you want in the home, such as three beds, two baths, square feet, proximity to work, etc. This way as soon as a new home matching your criteria becomes available, you and your agent are alerted. No more missed opportunities! If you are a seller pricing your home right, right away is key. You may want to price it slightly higher than similar homes in your area to maximize your net, but don’t get carried away. Over pricing a home can scare away serious sellers as you may come off as difficult to deal with or unreasonable. Also, the longer a home sits on the market unsold, the more buyers begin to wonder what is wrong with it and want to offer lowball-type contracts.
If you are a buyer, less is really more right now. The fewer concessions you ask for, the shorter your inspection periods are, and the faster you are able to close, the better. Sellers have many cash offers to consider these days and cash deals close quickly. If you are not purchasing with cash, streamlining your offer helps push it to the front of the pile in multiple offer situations. Contrastingly, if you are a seller you may want to offer detailed information on any special features your home may have. Termite bonds, home warranties that are transferrable and any improvements you’ve done recently will factor heavily into the buyers decision on when and how much they offer on your home. Offering a home warranty or to leave window treatments and lighting can help you stand out from your neighbors when there are several choices in your area.
It’s been said that victory loves preparation. In my experience, this is always true. A buyer’s first step once they have decided to buy and found a Realtor is to secure their financing and get their pre-approval. If cash is your method of purchasing then have a proof of funds statement from your bank ready. Submitting this along with your offer is frequently mandatory. Even if this is not requested by the seller, providing this up front demonstrates your commitment to the process and that you are qualified and serious. If your lender takes a day to get this to you and you are competing with other offers, it may mean the difference in getting your offer accepted, particularly when dealing with foreclosure and short sale homes. For sellers, being prepared means many things, one of which is being what I call “camera ready.” Being camera ready means having your home in showing condition at all times. Keeping your home in a state of showing readiness saves you time and helps you get more showings, and therefore more offers. In order to be camera ready, keep all areas clean neat and free of clutter. No visible laundry, trash, dishes or stacks of paper. This next tip may sound like a no brainer but you would be surprised! Be ready to move. Having your next move mapped out beforehand and your next destination selected will cut your stress level in half and enable you to accept a good offer when it comes your way. There are some really great opportunities to be had in the Central Florida housing market right now. With the right plan of action, success is firmly within your grasp. Good luck!
Christina Rordam is a local Realtor. Contact her at 407-928-8294 or ChristinaSellsOrlando.com