With real estate sales building momentum in Santa Cruz County, it comes as no surprise to learn that buyers are vying for their dream home amid low inventory, multiple bids and offers coming in above list price. According to the latest reports, home sales in Santa Cruz County are strong with nearly 200 single-family homes sold in August at a median price of $629,000 – the second highest number of volume sold since August 2005 and $84,000 higher from the 2012 median price of $545,000.
Right now, we may be experiencing a seller’s market – but that doesn’t mean buyers can’t come out on top. And even though values are continuing to rise, buyers can get into the best possible home for the best possible price – with a competent realtor.
The sweet spot of current real estate sales is between the upper $400Ks to the lower $700Ks – a price point maintaining its popularity among new families and those looking to upgrade homes with additional square footage or better location. Because inventory is somewhat scarce in this category, it’s essential to work with an agent experienced with competitive bidding.
Here’s the good news, though: the bidding war that broke out in March seems to have subsided, but competition may remain fierce nonetheless. In today’s real estate landscape, multiple offers are still commonplace and buyers must understand the intricacies of the market in order to land their dream home.
If you’re a buyer in Santa Cruz, you need to put your best face forward to make it out on top. With a lack of inventory and competition for quality properties, here’s what you can do to land your dream home – stress-free. For more information on buying real estate in Santa Cruz, log onto http://RE831.com/ or click here to search available listings right now.
WORK WITH A COMPETENT REAL ESTATE AGENT
It’s common to see multiple offers on properties for sale in Santa Cruz. Right now, sellers are looking for the total package and that means looking at the strength of the team supporting the buyer. Because inventory is moving fast, you’ll want to work with a real estate agent well-versed with the competitive landscape of home sales in Santa Cruz. Competitive bidding, understanding area price points and differentiating your bid are key elements of success when it comes to getting your offer accepted. Differentiate your bid by including:
A COVER LETTER AND PICTURE. Your story can make a difference with the seller and set your bid apart.
PROOF OF DOWN-PAYMENT. You’ve probably heard that “money talks,” and in Santa Cruz, that’s definitely the case. Make sure to present proof of down-payment in the form of a printed bank statement to strengthen and confirm the details of your bid.
YOUR LENDING DETAILS. Have financing in place and include it in your bid. When it comes to choosing your lender, come up with a strategy and understand your strengths as well as limitations.
Interview your agent before hiring – and don’t settle!
HAVE A LENDING STRATEGY IN PLACE
A lender can make or break your offer. That’s why it’s so important to work with a competent and qualified lender when submitting an offer. With my 20 years of experience in lending, here are my top tips:
WORK WITH A KNOWN & RESPECTED LENDER. Not all lenders are created equal. When it comes to choosing a lender, it’s essential you work with a diligent and respected lending company – and lending agent – to maximize the chances that your bid is accepted.
GET A PRE-APPROVAL LETTER. In today’s market, a pre-qualification letter is not enough. Real estate sales are far too competitive in Santa Cruz, so you’ll be eliminated quickly as a potential buyer no matter how financially sound you may be if you don’t have a pre-approval letter. Don’t have one? Give me a call at 831.475.5695; I can put you in touch with trusted lenders who can get you a pre-approval right away. Then, we can work together to find your home.
UNDERSTAND SMALL DOWN-PAYMENTS. Right now, buyers with all cash offers or large down-payments (over 20 percent) are the first to nab the perfect home. If you’re working with anything less than 20 percent, you should approach your home buying strategy creatively. Can a family member go in on the investment with you? Is a duplex feasible? I can work with you creatively to find your home.
DETERMINE WHAT YOU WANT & WHERE YOU WANT TO BE
What exactly is your ideal home? Is it a horse property on the outskirts of Santa Cruz? Or a lovely 4-bedroom, 2 ½ bath in Scotts Valley? Make a list of the most important features of your ideal home – the “must-haves” and the “nice-to-haves” including neighborhood and location – and then start shopping.
BE IN THE KNOW, THEN GET READY TO GO
You should be ready to present your offer the moment your ideal home hits the multiple listing service (MLS). Make sure you’re working with a real estate agent who can notify you the moment a home is listed on the market. Then, don’t hesitate to make an offer once the home hits the MLS. Homes are going quickly and you don’t want to miss out on account of hesitation.
MAKE A CLEAN & WELL-PRICED OFFER
If you’ve found your dream home, congrats! Now it’s time to land it and close escrow without a hitch. To do so with little stress, and to ensure your offer gets accepted, be sure to submit a clean offer at asking price, or possibly above depending on your price range and the home’s location. Any stipulations, requests, long escrows or seller requirements can quickly sour an otherwise solid offer. Go with a clean offer instead to increase your chances of acceptance. And remember, don’t lowball. In today’s real estate landscape, it will quickly get dismissed.
More information on Santa Cruz real estate can be found by logging on to http://RE831.com
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