As we all know, Gallatin Valley’s real estate market is flying high. In April 2017 the median sales price of a single family home was $365,000. This compares to $316,505 in April 2016. Condos/townhouses have increased substantially as well. April 2017 shows a median price of $274,500 vs. $220,898 in April 2016.
Of course this is wonderful news for sellers, but it leaves prospective buyers in a bit of a pickle. Not only are prices increasing but many properties are going for all cash with few to no contingencies and a quick closing period. This leaves the question: What if I want to buy but don’t have a trust fund or Facebook stock options? It takes work and diligence but even us Average Joe’s have the ability to get a home under contract.
One thing I recommend to all my potential buyers is to get your finances in order. Buy that I mean talk to a bank (or multiple banks) to get pre-approved for financing up to your desired budget. Sellers like to see that the people they’re negotiating with are for real and not just tire-kickers. If they see a pre-approval they can be confident that these buyers are serious about buying their home and a bank has reviewed their financial position and has signed off on their confidence in lending funds.
Another thing buyers can do to potentially improve their chances is to create a connection with the seller. Huh? Let me explain. Sometimes it can be helpful to write a letter to the seller that explains who you are (job, marital status, kids, etc.) and explain in detail what made you fall in love with the seller’s home. It sounds cheesy but if this gets into the hands of the right seller it can materially improve one’s chances of locking the deal down. Some sellers only care about getting the absolute top dollar for their home and nothing else matters. Then again, other sellers want to know their beloved home is going to nice people who appreciate it and will take good care of it.
Some buyers run into problems because their offers must include a contingency to sell their current home prior to purchasing this new home. This is a tough one because, especially in Bozeman, inventory is very low and sellers typically want to move quickly. One potential work-around for this is to sell your current home and live in temporary quarters somewhere while making offers that don’t include that contingency. This may not be an option for everyone but it may help get you into your next home faster.
One major thing prospective buyers can do to increase their odds of landing a deal is to work with a real estate agent who understands their criteria and who will spend the time working diligently on their behalf. I can’t stress this enough. If you’re being shown properties out of your price range or out of your ideal geographic area, for example, it’s wasting precious time. Furthermore, if you’re being rushed to make a decision or being treated like a number that’s a telltale sign your offers may not be presented in the best light possible. Make sure you trust your agent and he/she is advocating for you.
This is quite a market we’re in right now. It moves quickly and can be overwhelming. But finding a home is not impossible. It just takes hard work, determination and decisive action!
Last blog’s trivia question: What building is the oldest? a) Baxter Hotel, b) Ellen Theater, c) MSU’s Romney Gym Answer: Ellen (built in 1919), followed by Romney (1922) and Baxter (1929)
This blog’s trivia question: As of April 2017, how many months supply of single family home inventory existed in Gallatin Valley? a) 3, b) 6, c) 9