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You’ve found a home that you like, and you put in an offer only to discover yours is not the only one. In the San Antonio area, where it’s a tight housing market, that’s a likely scenario, particularly for certain locations and price points. Trying to purchase a home in such a fast-moving market can make the already complex buying process seem overwhelming. So how do you prepare to buy in a sellers’ market and increase your chances of nabbing that dream home?

Your first step should be to contact a local REALTOR® who can serve as your guide through the sometimes tricky process and help you stay focused so you can make a smart move. Real estate is local, which means every neighborhood down to the street is different. However, a knowledgeable REALTOR® will be familiar with the areas and neighborhoods you are considering.

By staying in close contact with your REALTOR® you also will find out about the latest listings. In a fast-moving market, timing is everything, so be ready to see a house as soon as it goes on the market. If it’s a great home, it will go fast. Using your REALTOR® as a resource can give you the competitive advantage needed in a tight market.

Get Pre-Qualified

Once you have found your REALTOR®, get pre-qualified for a mortgage. A pre-qualification will help you know what you can afford, so you don’t waste time looking at homes outside of your price range. With pre-qualification, your offer will be more desirable to the seller because it shows a firm commitment to purchasing that can be the difference between your offer and someone else’s.

After taking into account additional costs of ownership such as taxes, utilities and insurance, determine a final budget you can comfortably afford. When listings are scarce, bidding wars can drive up prices, so be prepared to walk away if the asking price surpasses your budget.

Be Prepared to Decide Quickly

Some homes will sell right away, which means you need to be ready to make a swift decision once you’ve found a place you love. Spend plenty of time in advance deciding what you can afford and must have in a home so you won’t hesitate when you have the chance to make an offer. Knowing your priorities and where you’re willing to compromise will help you focus your search. You should also consider driving through a neighborhood with homes you are interested in, to get a feel for the area and see if it’s a place you’d like to live.

Make a Fair, Competitive Offer

Once you’re ready to make an offer, bid competitively. You may not want to start out offering the absolute highest price you can afford, but don’t go too low to get a deal. In a tight market, you may lose out. Your REALTOR® can offer an objective perspective so you don’t get lost in the emotion of the decision. If a bidding war commences, you will need that calm influence to help you discern if you should keep going or if it’s time to move on. Just because there’s competition for a home doesn’t mean you should buy it. And even though you want to make your offer attractive, don’t neglect inspections that help ensure the house is a sound investment.

Remain Patient

Finally, remember to be flexible. If you lose out on a home you really liked, know that you will find another one. Patience is key as you don’t want to rush into such a big purchase and you want to make sure you love where you live. Ask your REALTOR® questions throughout the process and trust him or her to help guide you to your next home.

Go to SABOR.com to begin your search for a REALTOR® and a home. SABOR.com is the most updated local property search in the San Antonio and surrounding areas.

The San Antonio Board of Realtors is your primary resource when it comes to finding a realtor and buying and selling in the San Antonio area. It is the largest professional trade association in San Antonio...