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Whether you’re a growing family needing more size or a boomer thinking about downsizing your empty nest, you’re probably aware that it’s a seller’s market out there.

Successful home buyers celebrate with a sold sign in front of their new home

Make your next purchase offer the winning offer using these 5 home buyer tips in a seller’s market

Homes are selling at record speed, multiple offer situations are commonplace, and buyers often have little room for negotiation, making home buyers very frustrated.

Experience has taught veteran real estate agents to keep a few secret moves when writing a winning offer in a multiple offer battle.

If you are considering a move here are five home buying tips to edge out the competition in a seller’s market.

 Tip #1: Be Flexible When Negotiating Close Date

In a multiple offer situation, home buyers need to carefully consider the non-financial aspects. Make your offer as attractive as possible. That means purchase price plus all the ancillary clauses.  Don’t muddy the water with too many inspections or warranties. Safe sometimes trumps price.

 Tip #2: Get Familiar with Escalation Clauses

An escalation clause is often used in a homebuyer’s purchase offer to beat out competing offers. The clause should contain very specific language in how and when the clause is triggered and the documentation necessary for the seller to provide.

Tip # 3: Home Sale Contingencies are Scary

Many home buyers aren’t selling their current home until they find a new one. But, sellers are also balking at home sale contingencies. Prepare for this scenario with your lender and real estate agent. Lay out an action plan to “stack your closings” if possible.

 Tip #4 Cash is King

As always, offers containing a financing contingency carries risk, perceived or otherwise. Cash offers are extremely attractive to home sellers. This doesn’t mean your savings account needs to be gigantic. Many successful home buyers are using home equity lines of credit and other similar financing options to increase the “cash appeal” of their offer.

Tip #5 Sign up for MLS Automated Alerts (Zillow doesn’t count)

New homes to the market sell lightning fast. The first place these homes are likely advertised for sale is the local MLS that syndicates the information to Zillow, Trulia, and the like. Home sale details aren’t always accurate nor up to date once it leaves the MLS. Identify a trusted real estate agent that can set you up with access to the latest in MLS listings.

Brian Carlin Nebraska Realty authors many articles on home ownership and real estate