The winter may not be the most popular time to buy, but it actually may be the most affordable. With less competition and more desperate buyers, the opportunity to find a great home at a great price is there and waiting.

Are you looking to buy a home this winter? Here’s how you can get the most bang for your buck while doing so:

Negotiate.

You can always, always, always negotiate – especially if there’s not a lot of competition. If you know you’re the only buyer looking at a house (maybe it’s been on the market a while, the price has dropped a number of times or there’s just a lot of inventory in the area), then you have tons of wiggle room on price. Work with your agent to negotiate a lower selling price or, if that’s not possible, at least get some closing costs and fee concessions. If a seller is willing to cover even a handful of fees, it could save you thousands of dollars come closing day.

Write a personal appeal.

Many buyers today write a personal appeal to sellers, detailing why they want the home and what they plan to do with. If you’re offering a little less than the listing price, this can be a great way to catch a seller’s attention and stand out in their eyes, despite the financial hit they may take from choosing your offer. Work with your agent to craft a good personal appeal letter, and make sure they include it along with your official offer from the start.

Get pre-qualified for your mortgage.

Coming to the table with a pre-qualification letter can be a great way to set yourself apart from other buyers that might be on the market. For one, it tells the buyer that you’re a safe bet – that a lender has already approved you and that you’re serious about the purchase. You’d be surprised how many buyers make a bid, but in the end don’t secure a loan and have to pull out of the deal. This is a waste of time for all involved – the agents, buyers, sellers and even the lender. A pre-qualification letter can really set you apart from the pack in this regard, even if you’re offering a little less than what the seller may be asking for.

Come with a decent down payment and earnest fee.

Offering a seller a large down payment and earnest fee are both ways to show you’re serious about a purchase. Even if you make an offer that’s a few thousand less than asking price, a big down payment can be a serious draw – because that’s cash the seller gets immediately, right after closing papers are signed. There’s no waiting around for mortgages to be paid off and checks issued. That down payment is theirs, free and clear – and the bigger, the better.

An earnest fee is money the seller gets just for accepting your offer – regardless of whether the deal goes through or not. A big one shows that you’re confident in your ability to secure a loan and buy the house, and it makes it worth the seller’s while to go out on a limb for you. It gives them confidence that, while your offer may be lower than others, it’s a safe bet they can rely on no matter what.

Make a backup offer.

Can’t afford the full listing price on your dream home? Make a smaller, backup offer instead. Just because another buyer may bid full price doesn’t mean they’ll follow through. In fact, a large share of deals fall apart at the last minute due to funding issues. If you really like a home, put in an offer anyway – at a price you can afford – and cross your fingers. You may find yourself happily surprised in the end.

 

Winter Home Buying

Are you looking to buy a home this winter? Then let The Claus Team lead the way. Our expert real estate agents are intimately familiar with the Schertz, Garden Ridge, Cibolo and surrounding San Antonio areas, and they can help you find the home of your dreams at a price you can afford. Well-versed in negotiating and helping buyers stand out, they can also ensure you get a good deal no matter what the listing price may be. Just contact us today to learn more or to get started on your home search right away.