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How to Win the Competitive Home-Buying Game on Chicago’s North Shore

north shore homebuyers

Normally by this time of year, the North Shore real estate market has slowed down for the holidays and doesn’t pick back up until spring. Not this year! Because of the halt in real estate activity in the spring, everything has been pushed back this year. Homes are flying off the market, and a slowdown isn’t in sight.

If you want to buy a North Shore home this holiday season, as your North Shore real estate agent, I am here to help! Because mortgage rates are at record lows, many buyers are out and eager to buy. Because inventory is lower than average, home-buying competition is fierce. Here are some ways to ensure a successful home purchase this winter:

1. Secure financing. If you’re going to finance a home, don’t waste any time applying for a mortgage. It’s best to apply with multiple mortgage lenders within a two-week window, to find your best option. By having a pre-approval letter, sellers will take you seriously and are more apt to accept your offer, and you’ll know exactly what you can afford, so you house hunt within your means.

2. Know what you need. Buyers don’t get to be too picky right now, with lower-than-average inventory and many other buyers to compete with. But before you start house hunting, make a list of what the home must absolutely have, such as number of bedrooms, large yard, a particular location, etc. Only search for homes that meet your criteria, so you aren’t wasting time looking at homes that don’t.

3. Tour homes virtually. You are searching during a pandemic. There may be stricter guidelines in place for you to follow. You also want to keep you, the sellers and your agent safe and healthy. As such, it’s a good idea to browse photos and, whenever possible, take a virtual tour first. This will allow you to get a feel for the layout of the house from the comfort of your home, and determine if it will work for you.

4. Make an offer fast. Once you do view the home, if you are happy with it, don’t hesitate to make an offer! Many homes are on and off the market in a matter of days, with multiple offers. You just never know how much other competition there is for the house, so if you like a house, put in a solid offer.

5. Make your offer stand out. When you put an offer in, your offer may be competing with multiple other offers. You want to make it stand out. Cash offers and inspection waivers are some ways to make your offer stand out. If you can’t do that, or aren’t comfortable doing that, consider going over asking price, or setting up an escalation clause, where you agree to pay more than other offers, with a maximum set. Write a letter to the seller, explaining why you love their house and hope they choose your offer.

It’s a competitive market, but homebuyers are still finding their starter homes or forever homes! If you’re ready to buy in Glencoe, Winnetka, Highland Park, Deerfield, Northbrook, Lake Forest, Wilmette, Evanston, Glenview, Riverwoods, Bannockburn, or other North Shore communities, give me a call. As your North Shore real estate agent, I am here and ready to help you, now or in the coming year!

Janie Bress
Your North Shore Real Estate Expert
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