The housing market is heating up! Prices are surging across the country, posting the strongest gains in more than seven years. Sellers are rejoicing, but these higher prices are putting buyers in a pinch.
So many are taking less conventional routes to find their dream home. They're knocking on the doors of homes they like, writing handwritten notes and tracking down owners in hopes they may be willing to sell even though their home isn't technically on the market.
Personal finance expert Vera Gibbons says to find out how motivated your seller is.
"You have to know what their motivation is behind the scenes. You have to do a little research on that front," advises Gibbons. "Are they getting divorced? Are they desperate to sell? Do they have two homes?"
She says one clue buyers should look for is how long a property has been on the market. And pay attention to the calendar. Sellers get more anxious during the holidays.
"If it has been sitting there indefinitely, the seller would be a little more inclined to entertain a low ball offer. They wouldn't want to go into the holiday season with this house hanging onto them. They would want to unload it now, while the going is good," Gibbons says.
Buyers flashing the cash may grab the seller's attention and get their property for less than asking price, beating competitors who require financing.
But Gibbons warns, "Make the offer clean, make it reasonable, don't make it too offensive."
Another tip, watch out if you're competing for a home against millennials. Forbes says young adults are more likely to try every tactic, including bidding above asking, borrowing money from family and friends and especially writing letters.