If you are like most hopeful real estate buyers in Northern Virginia, you are probably noticing that there aren’t many nice homes out there to buy right now. Not to bore you with more real estate stats, but from Vienna to Ashburn, it’s slim pickins out there!
You are not alone. I just read an article from Redfin’s CEO on TechCrunch about how challenging the market is in Silicon Valley – yes, California. In fact, inventory of homes for sale at one point in December was so low that every “agent in the San Francisco office represented a different home-buyer on that property.”
Oy, that’s a headache, and could have created a bit of an agency conflict-of-interest if one of their buyers overpaid.
Anyway, back to our nasty little situation here, and a real estate tip that may help your effort.
Real Estate Negotiation 101
One item that is crucial to have in your quiver is the quality of your “lender letter”. Yes, boring, boring, boring.
If you have never sold a home before or it has been a long time since you did, please understand there is a #1 concern of 99% of home sellers. The #1 concern: your ability to get the financing that you are telling them you are pre-approved for. From their perspective, they are taking a lot “on faith” when they decided to select your offer over another.
So, my easy real estate tip:
- Get an updated pre-approval letter from your lender with a date no older than 25 days from the date of your offer.
For example, last fall an agent presented me an offer that included a pre-approval letter that was six months old. Since his client’s offer was very competitive, I asked him (out of professional courtesy) to get a new letter. He seemed surprised and a little embarrassed because without a “fresh” letter his client’s offer was not going to win.
If your agent is allowing you to submit an offer from a lender dated three, four months or older, then you should be fired! Yes, you the buyer should be fired for wasting that agent’s time.
You might not completely understand that the relationships between lenders and real estate agents has changed in the post-recession, highly regulated world. Mortgage lenders now have ID numbers and your loan officer may have a handle like NMLS ID # 510009. The consumer protection rules have changed and it is your responsibility to keep in touch with your mortgage lender. Okay?
I am not a mortgage lender or originator, but see the larger picture to help my real estate clients have a strategy to help achieve their goals in a challenging marketplace.