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Bottom Line Up Front

  • An experienced real estate agent can help you navigate changes and challenges in the housing market.
  • A preapproval letter puts you in a strong position to buy a home because it shows you’re a qualified buyer.
  • Doing research on the housing market before you make an offer on a home can give you a competitive edge.

Whether you’re actively searching for a home or just testing the waters, jumping into a hot real estate market can be stressful. There’s a sense of urgency to act quickly, but it’s important to stay cool under pressure and avoid letting emotions drive your decision-making. 

Home-Buying Tips for a Competitive Market

  • Find a good real estate agent. Working with an experienced agent is an important first step. It pays to work with an expert who knows how to navigate changes and challenges in the housing market. That’s what you can count on when you partner with an agent in the RealtyPlus® network.
  • Work with a loan officer you trust. Choosing a lender with a proven track record for quality service makes a difference. Your loan officer can guide you through the financial aspects of buying a home and applying for a mortgage. They can help figure out how much home you can afford and prepare all the documents you need early in the process.
  • Get a preapproval letter. Getting preapproved for a mortgage puts you in a strong position to make an offer on a home. A preapproval letter from a reputable financial institution shows that you’re a qualified buyer ready to close the deal.

In today's competitive market, it is more important than ever to start your home search with a preapproval. Complete your application and turn in your documents to the lender up-front, before looking at homes if possible. A buyer who has taken the time to complete these extra steps is much stronger than one who has just contacted a lender verbally. Navy Federal has some of the best loan products in the industry and can help buyers get preapproved and on their way to purchasing their dream home.

RealtyPlus Agent: Dayna T, Better Homes and Gardens Winans
  • Set your priorities. Work with your real estate agent to identify the top features you want in a home—and where you’re willing to compromise.
  • Be ready to move fast. Your real estate agent has access to the latest listings and can notify you when new homes hit the market. When you find a home that meets your criteria, be ready to act quickly to make an offer.
  • Make a strong offer. A good real estate agent will find out how much homes are selling for in the neighborhood and reach out to the seller’s agent to find out what’s important to the seller.
  • Doing this research can give you an edge when it comes to making a competitive offer. It’s a good idea to discuss your strategy for a counteroffer so you’re prepared for a range of scenarios.
  • Be patient. Resist the urge to make decisions based on emotion or get carried away in a bidding war. Decide on your maximum bid ahead of time and be prepared to walk away if bidding goes beyond your financial comfort zone. Sometimes waiting can give you the perspective you need to move forward when the time is right.

First-time buyers need to seek out the services of an experienced Realtor who cares enough to go the extra mile. Use a good lender with a good reputation, like Navy Federal. Be ready to move forward with an offer quickly, in order to optimize every opportunity. Finally, I would tell them not to be discouraged by what seems like an impossible task. Many first-time buyers have been successful, but it may take writing several offers to win one in this market.

RealtyPlus Agent: Linda O, Better Homes and Gardens Winans

Your Home Search Starts Here

Is a new home in your future? Navy Federal Credit Union is here to help, and we’ve partnered with RealtyPlus to help you choose a top-performing real estate agent in your area. Get started with RealtyPlus today.

This article is intended to provide general information and shouldn't be considered legal, tax or financial advice. It's always a good idea to consult a tax or financial advisor for specific information on how certain laws apply to your situation and about your individual financial situation.