House Hunting In A Competitive Market: Three Things To Do Before You Start Looking

Searching for the perfect home is never easy. In a really competitive housing market, it's even more challenging. You need to be ready to put in an offer the moment you find a home you like -- and you need to be prepared for the possibility that it could take you a while to find a home, too. To ensure the experience is a positive one, tackle these three tasks before you even start shopping in a competitive housing market.

Get pre-approved for a mortgage.

If you put a bid in on a home in a competitive area and you're not already approved for a mortgage, you can bet the seller will turn down your offer in favor of one from someone who has already been approved. It's simply a safer choice on their part! So, apply for mortgages at several banks, compare the rates they offer you, and carry proof of your pre-approval with you when you go to look at a house. Getting pre-approved also grants you the benefit of knowing how much you can afford to pay for a home. For instance, if you are approved for a loan of up to $150,000, you know you can only offer that much or less.

Know your deal breakers.

In such a competitive market, you may not end up with a home that checks absolutely all of your boxes. But you want to make sure you end up with one that's a decently good fit. This will be a lot easier if you have a list of things you absolutely do not want in a home. This way, if you come across a home that has one of those deal-breaker features, you can move on to the next one without even having to think about it. You won't risk making an offer in haste, only to end up with a home you don't actually like.

Have alternative housing plans if you don't find a home in time.

It's not unusual to have multiple offers declined when trying to find a home in a competitive market. If you need to move to an area by a certain date, you need to be prepared for a possibility that you won't find a home by that date. Find a friend you can live with in the area, or be prepared to rent an apartment for a few months if the search takes longer than expected.

Keep these things in mind when looking for new homes for sale