Whether you’re looking to feather your nest with a set of luxury sheets or save on a hardworking Dyson vacuum, you can score some major savings this Prime Day. Here’s how.
The old saying holds true in real estate: The first offer often gets the worm. Follow these four tips to snag the best home deals around.
1. Look for Foreclosures
More homes than expected end up in foreclosure each quarter and year, which means that there are plenty of opportunities for savvy homebuyers. These distressed properties often sell at a discount from traditional for-sale properties. This can be a boon for buyers who are looking to purchase real estate to live in, flip for profit, or invest for the long term.
To find the best deals on a foreclosed property, you must be willing to search a wide variety of sources. There are online sites that offer lists of available foreclosures based on specific criteria such as price, location, and number of bedrooms and bathrooms. Some of these sites also feature advanced tools to help homebuyers analyze potential ROI yields if they are considering buying a property for investment purposes.
In addition to online listings, you should also search the websites of individual banks that are in possession of foreclosures. Many national lenders maintain special sections on their website dedicated to foreclosures. This is because they are often attempting to quickly offload these properties before their value declines even further.
Another thing to remember when searching for foreclosures is that you should never buy them sight unseen. In general, you will be required to complete an inspection before you can make an offer. You must also check for any liens that could be attached to the property. This includes homeowner association dues, utility bills, and other encumbrances that may need to be paid.
The key to finding the best deals on a foreclosed home is preparation. Before you begin the search, you should get pre-approved for a mortgage. This will give you a distinct advantage over other buyers who will be using cash to bid on the property. This is important because banks are usually trying to offload these properties as soon as possible.
Despite the low prices of foreclosures, they are not necessarily always a good deal. For example, some foreclosed properties are in bad neighborhoods or are in need of significant repairs, which can drive down their overall value. In addition, there are other factors that can influence a property’s profitability including the local real estate market, rental demand, and the type of property being purchased.
2. Look for a Buyer’s Agent
The best way to level the playing field and make sure your interests are represented is by working with a buyer’s agent. Buyer’s agents are licensed real estate professionals who specialize in working with buyers to find and purchase homes.
A great buyer’s agent will have a wide range of experience helping buyers, and should be happy to share this with you. They can provide you with listings based on your criteria and help you get pre-approved for a mortgage. They will also help you find other pros to work on your home purchase team including appraisers, home inspectors and lawyers.
Once you have found a property that meets your criteria, your buyer’s agent will prepare and submit an offer on your behalf. They will then negotiate the purchase price and terms of the offer with the seller’s agent. If you’re faced with a counteroffer from the seller, your buyer’s agent will advise you on strategies to increase your chances of winning the bid.
An experienced agent can also help you navigate the complex paperwork involved in purchasing a home. They will make sure you have the proper disclosures and legal documents completed in a timely manner, and that all required steps are taken to meet closing deadlines. They should also have a strong understanding of local market conditions, and how they might impact your buying decisions.
When interviewing a buyer’s agent, ask for references from past clients. If an agent is hesitant to provide these, it may be a red flag. Also, consider asking friends and family who have purchased a home recently for recommendations. Then, cross-check those references with online reviews and ratings.
Once you’ve selected an agent, it’s a good idea to do a trial run by viewing a few homes with them. This will give you a feel for their expertise and whether they’re comfortable working with your needs. They should be able to answer your questions thoroughly and quickly, and be attentive throughout the entire process. If you’re not satisfied, you can always ask for a 30- or 60-day contract opt-out period before signing any official paperwork.
3. Do Your Research
Sometimes the best home deals don’t even make it to market. Real estate agents often hear about “Coming Soon” properties from their office before they’re uploaded to the MLS, and these homes go quickly—often within hours of being advertised.
Similarly, off-market property deals can be great opportunities to get a deal on real estate that isn’t listed publicly and where your competition won’t see it. If a homeowner has been struggling to sell their house for months (or years) and is just looking for a quick sale, they might be willing to accept below-market prices in order to move on.
Lastly, smart appliances and devices are often discounted during Amazon Prime Big Deal Days—including things like smart ceiling fans, garage door openers, coffee makers, sprinkler controllers, vacuums, thermostats, and more. Keep an eye out for these deals so you can upgrade your home and save money at the same time.