In a competitive market, Buyers need to have a plan and be ready in order to avoid missing out on great buying opportunities.  Here are five simple tips that will help you navigate:

1.  Do your homework and know the property values.  There is nothing more aggravating to a Seller than receiving a ridiculous offer.  Most Sellers are willing to negotiate, but they are not willing to negotiate with a buyer who is living in fantasy land.

2.  Get pre approved.  This seems like an obvious one, but some Buyers still wait until the last minute.  In addition, have the lender write in the loan amount, down payment, and property address on the pre-approval as it shows that you have done your homework and want the house.

3.  Leave the closing date blank.  By allowing the Seller to choose the closing date, you can eliminate a great deal of stress and uncertainty for the Seller.  This also gives the Seller flexibility and eliminates any guesswork as to what timeline works best.

4.  Be flexible about possession after closing.  Keep in mind the Seller is going to have to find another place to live and is dealing with the same uncertainties and challenges you are as a Buyer.  Having some time to move after the closing, (30 to 60 days) will allow the Seller time to figure out their next move, which will make your offer more appealing.  Most Seller are willing to pay rent, so it may not cost you extra.

5.  Beef up your earnest deposit.  Bottom line, a large earnest deposit makes you look strong and a small one makes you look weak.  I would suggest 1-2 percent of the purchase price at a minimum.

Remember these tips and keep an open mind.  By doing so, you will greatly increase your chances of having your offer accepted in a competitive bidding environment.

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