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Tips For Home Buyers In A Hot Housing Market
by TJ Anderson
If you’re house-hunting in Nashville, I don’t need to tell you: Things are still moving very, very fast. We routinely list properties and have them go under contract within days, if not hours. (See above.)
It’s been that way for a little while now, and as we move deeper into spring, I don’t see it slowing down much.
That can feel a little stressful when you’re a buyer — especially if you’re a first-time buyer — I know. And while I can’t tell you not to feel any anxiety about a fast-moving market in a rapidly growing city, I can tell you how to prep for the process, and set yourself up for the best chance at getting what you want, where you want, with less stress.
The first piece of advice I’ll always give — with total acceptance of my bias — is to team up with an experienced Realtor. We live and breathe this market, and we can help you navigate it, advise you as you make decisions, advocate for you as your home purchase progresses, and take some of the weight off your shoulders. (I tend to recommend TJ Anderson Homes… I know a guy.)
Beyond that, here are a few things I think are worth keeping in mind as you look to buy a home in a hot housing market like Nashville’s.
Have a very clear idea of what you need and want.
This might seem like a given, but more than a few home buyers — particularly spouses/co-buyers — have waited until the looking-at-houses point to have important internal or external conversations about must-haves and deal-breakers. Almost all buyers have to make a few compromises, but if you’re clear about the important stuff, you’ll be in a better position to make a quick decision that doesn’t feel like a rushed decision. Know what you absolutely must have, and what you absolutely will not settle for, and be a clear head/united front when a great house in your sought-after neighborhood hits the market.
Be detailed and clear with your agent.
Part of my job, as I see it, is to understand what kind of house will move you almost as well as you do. When I have a crystal-clear vision of your dream home, my property searches will be sharper, my suggestions better, and our house hunts more successful. So if I’m your Realtor, bring me into the loop when those important internal or external conversations are done. From square footage to style, I want to know it all. And think broadly here — if being close to the train tracks is a no-go, if a backyard with mature trees is a must, if a master on the second floor just won’t work, tell me all that. We’ll end up looking at fewer homes that don’t suit you, and we’ll focus our time and energy on the ones that might be it.
Set up e-mail listing alerts.
Most tech-savvy Realtors will offer an option to have appropriate new listings dropped right into your inbox regularly. On my homepage, there’s an easy link that says “Set Up Email Alerts” (scroll down a little, and you'll see it on the right, just above the listings). It’ll let you define all your parameters, and get customized listings e-shipped to you as frequently as you want, from once a week to the instant they hit the MLS. Getting an e-blast can help you be on top of properties you’re itching to check out sooner rather than later.
Don’t just rely on that site that rhymes with “pillow.”
The listings on a good Middle Tennessee Realtor’s website — like TJAndersonHomes.com — come direct from the MLS via RealTracs, through the IDX (Internet Data Exchange), with speed and accuracy. We don’t feed our listings to the big real estate marketplace sites like Zillow, so much of what you’re seeing there is manually entered. That can be a useful resource for some homes, but you’re missing some 90-plus percent of what’s out there if you're relying exclusively on Zillow. And when info does come through there, it’s routinely days later than, say, my site, which gets real-time home listing info. Whether you use my site or another Realtor’s, if you want accurate property listings and valuations and time is of the essence, I encourage you to fill up straight from the source. Yes, you’ll need to sign up to search, but the intent is to be a value-add to clients and browsers alike. We’ll contact you to see if we can help further, and if you don’t need anything right now, you can tell us that and continue to enjoy the top-notch info. Again, I’m biased, but I think our help is truly valuable, and our team is kind, helpful and exceptionally charming. (And modest.)
Get your mortgage pre-approval sorted.
If you’re looking in a particularly busy neighborhood (like East Nashville or 12 South), multiple-offer situations are still happening. And yes, sometimes the contract does go to the highest bidder. But other times, sellers are more concerned with the most certain bet, and if they’re weighing an offer from a pre-approved buyer and one who has nothing in hand yet, your pre-planning might tip the scales in your favor. When you’re ready to start looking for a home in earnest, get your pre-approval set so you’ll be ready to pounce with an attractive offer.
That’s just a start, but I hope this food for thought is helpful to you if you’re embarking (or thinking about embarking) on a house hunt. If you’d like to talk more about getting on the best foot possible as you start your Middle Tennessee home search, I’d love to help you. Just reach out, and tell me about what you need!
TJ Anderson is a Nashville Realtor with Benchmark Realty who's helped countless clients both buy a home and sell a home in Nashville, Tennessee. He blogs about Nashville regularly, from Nashville-area....
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