As you guys probably already know, Amon and I used real estate as an important part of our financial independence strategy. In fact, if you go over to our channel, there is a whole playlist of videos discussing real estate investing! So, yeah, suffice to say, real estate is an area of investing that we have some experience in.
Because of this, we know how stressful it can be to find a good deal when buying property. So, to help reduce the amount of stress you go through when house hunting, I’m going to let you in on five hacks that you can use to buy property in any market.
This post will be especially helpful for aspiring real estate investors, or anyone who is looking to purchase their own home. And I’m really excited to share this with you guys because, if used correctly, these tips can actually end up saving you a ton of money!
So, without further ado, here are the five hacks that we use to buy real estate in an expensive housing market!
Tip 1: Look At the City’s Master Plan
A master plan is an urban planning document that provides a layout of projected growth and development for a city. These master plans are written for the public so they shouldn’t be too hard to track down or understand. They’re typically available online. But, if your city doesn’t publicize its plan online, just go to the city’s planning department and request to see the documents.
When you look at these documents, you’ll see how useful they are. Because they’ll identify how and where growth will take place in a particular city, the city’s master plan will help you identify areas to buy where properties will likely appreciate in value.
So, for example, let's take Atlanta, Georgia. Atlanta is a city where the downtown is going through a massive revitalization. We can see, by looking at Atlanta's master plan (which is available online), that the downtown population is going to increase by 45% in the next 10 years. This is excellent information to know when looking to buy property in Atlanta!
So reviewing a city’s master plan will be REALLY useful in helping you identify where you can get a deal right now . . . before the development comes!
Tip 2: Make Your Purchase Between Thanksgiving and Christmas
I know, this one may have you scratching your head a little, but let me explain why buying during this time of year could result in some serious savings!
Not only is there less competition during these months, but sellers who list their homes between Thanksgiving and Christmas tend to be either: 1) less savvy overall; or 2) more desperate to sell their property. I mean, there is a reason most people sell their homes in summer and spring. So the fact that sellers are putting their homes on the market during the winter or holiday months means you might actually have an easier time getting a good deal from them.
Also, generally speaking, homes just don't sell as well during the winter months. Because the weather is so dreary and uninviting, buyers tend not to want to go out and look at homes during these months. And the homes themselves are usually not as nice to look at when they’re covered in snow and slush, with salt stains on the pavement.
All these factors combined mean that you're more likely to get a better deal between Thanksgiving and Christmas!
Tip 3: Look For an Unstaged Home
Staged homes tend to go for MUCH higher prices than unstaged homes because unstaged homes can turn off a large segment of potential buyers immediately. Because of this, if you can find a home where the owners are still living there, you’ll probably get a better deal.
If it's being lived in, the home definitely won’t be in an immaculate condition. And it likely won’t showcase visually appealing spaces where buyers can immediately see themselves living. In fact, if a home is being lived in, it will probably be a bit messy, and this will make people who walk in to view the home a little uncomfortable.
But if you’re able to get over this initial perception issue, you can take advantage of this situation. Be excited at the idea that other buyers (i.e., your competition!) will be less interested in the home because this means it's just that much easier for you to get a deal!
Tip 4: Use Redfin, Or Any Similar On-Demand Broker
Redfin allows you to use their app and schedule an appointment to see the home within 30 minutes to an hour. Using a program like Redfin lets you get things done fast, and allows you to work based on your schedule alone. Using Redfin just made things so much more easy and convenient for us!
And while you can use any similar on-demand broker, we chose Redfin in particular because it offers a rebate. This means that everytime you book a viewing through Redfin, you get money back! And money back is always good!
Tip 5: Don’t Get Emotionally Attached To a Property
Remaining detached to properties during the house hunting process is vital because emotional bidders tend to get caught up in the moment and overbid. You can’t let your emotions dictate how much you're willing to pay for a property!
This is another reason why looking at houses during the winter could be beneficial. Because you’ll be able to avoid the competition and frenzy surrounding a property, you won’t risk getting caught up in a bidding war, and you won’t see emotional buyers arbitrarily driving up the price of the property. Not getting emotionally attached to any given property means that you’ll be more likely to make a logical decision backed by solid financials, instead of letting your heightened emotions take charge.
So, those are my five tips! When you begin to invest in real estate, it can be tough - especially when the housing market is high. When Amon and I began investing in real estate in the Bay Area, people were overbidding more than $100K on properties. It seemed impossible for us to get into the market. BUT, we began implementing an investment strategy (that included our five tips) and we were able to get our foot in the door. Not only that, but we were able to profit hundreds of thousands of dollars in the process! My advice to you: create an investment plan, implement our strategies, and begin looking for deals!
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