Yes! Yes, you can!
It can be a challenge to buy any home in Austin Texas right now. Maybe you’re aware of this, or maybe you’ve already experienced the challenge.
This is an understatement – but with some preparation and a little work, you can make it happen. Prices are still going up, so waiting will only cost you money. Historically, in most Austin areas, prices level off at some point, but they don’t go down. There’s no insurance that you’ll get your house, but you need everything you can get in your favor. Here are some suggestions, in no particular order.
Like the Boy Scout motto, Be Prepared. This includes a number of facets and factors; pre-qualifying for a mortgage; narrowing your preferences; choosing the right agent; and a winning strategy. Before you start your search, it is a great plan to go ahead and get pre-qualified – even before searching and dreaming online. This is very important factor in your home buying success and is easily accomplished.
You can apply online with a number of nationally available mortgage brokers, or even your banks’ website. We also have some great mortgage brokers and banks here in Austin who are more familiar with our market, know the available special programs, and who will shop the best rates. If you need suggestions, just ask me.
A pre-qualification will let you know exactly what you can afford. You may be pleasantly surprise to find that you can afford more than you thought in this era of low interest rates. Or, you may be able to afford less and it can be monumentally disappointing to look at houses you can’t afford. There’s no point setting yourself up for disappointment.
More importantly, however, you’ll need that pre-qualification in hand before making an offer on your dream house. In this hot Austin market where we have more buyers than houses, and more people coming in everyday, few buyers are willing to take their house off the market while you go to the bank to find out if you can afford their house. Why should they? There’s likely to be somebody in line behind you (or several somebodies!) who already has their loan lined up – or is even paying cash!
In our fast Austin market it can be a challenge just getting in to see a house you might like before it’s sold. Literally. In many neighborhoods all over the metro area houses are selling in a few days, at most, sometimes in a few hours. The best chance you have is to look at houses and neighborhoods well in advance and find out what really appeals to you, and where you’d like it to be.
It also helps to realize that your perfect, dream house (if there is such a thing) may never come available in your time frame and at a price you can afford. The more general your preferences, the better chance you’ll have finding your house.
The point is that knowing what you want will help you be ready to pounce on a house with confidence when it comes available. And, knowing what you want comes from looking, either virtually or in person, or both. By the way, I do mean pounce. It’s unlikely you’ll get the weekend to think about it. For some houses in some neighborhoods you may not even get the evening.
A major factor to this is having a good real estate agent who will work hard for you. This means somebody who will bring houses to your attention as soon as possible when they come on the market (or before), in case you don’t see them. And, who is available evenings and weekends to get you in there as soon as possible (plus, knows how to win houses in this fast market). A good agent who is experienced in getting it done may be your best secret weapon.
An additional key to being confident in your choice and ready to pounce is that you will likely need to be prepared to offer full price, if the home is priced correctly. This is completely against many people’s basic instinct (including mine!), but may be very important. If you don’t, while the seller is considering your offer or negotiating with you, somebody else can jump in ahead of you.
Also, getting in a full price offer as soon as possible may be your best chance for getting your offer accepted before others start a bidding war. This brings up bidding wars. It happens all the time and you need to be prepared and are hopefully working an agent who knows how to handle them.
All these factors are vitally important and there’s really none that can be left out if you’re going to work the system successfully (Unless, of course, if you’re a cash buyer, then you can leave out the pre-qualification step.) I could continue to expound extensively on all this, and there are a variety of negotiating tactics that I keep to my clients and to myself. I’m happy to answer your questions, though. Just ask me.
Scott Brodrick is a full time agent working evenings and weekends (and mornings and daytimes) to help our clients pounce on the house they want. He has plenty of tricks up his sleeve for getting an offer accepted. Call him on 512 215 4785.
Franky · January 13, 2015 at 3:26 pm
Our family had offer fatigue last year. Our agent would call us and we’d go see a home and get our hopes up, we’d offer over asking and then lose out. We’re renting until things normalize a little. All I see is articles saying Austin is over priced, but renting is just killing us.
Scott Brodrick · January 13, 2015 at 5:07 pm
Austin has blown up in terms of prices, but the rental market is also strong. It’s hard trying to time the market, but it seems a little cooler now from what we can see. I hear you on rent. I hate paying rent when I could be locking down a mortgage at today’s rates. Give us a call if we can help.
Tonya · December 14, 2015 at 2:52 pm
We have been looking for months and have yet to find anything with in our budget. So many people moving from Cali and buying 400K homes in cash. How can we regular folks compete with that? We are looking in RR and Pflugerville and all of the homes we like are well over 300k. We paying a mortgage for daycare in this area. Who is “affording” these homes? What line of work are they in b/c maybe I should switch careers?! Geesshhh
An Austin Realtor · January 11, 2016 at 6:11 am
It’s all relative I suppose. If I lived in Mauritania, and house in the US would seem outrageously priced I imagine. I recall that my daycare costs for two children were higher than my mortgage.