Buyer be 'aware'

Valuable tips for buyers in a seller-driven Calgary real estate market

Here in Calgary, we’re navigating through an extended period of an incredibly competitive, seller-driven real estate market.

What does that mean? Simply put, the seller holds the upper hand. Higher levels of migration coupled with record-low housing inventory mean demand outweighs supply, prices are soaring, and competition among homebuyers can be fierce.   

In such scenarios, being a successful buyer requires more than just luck; it demands strategy, patience, and a keen understanding of the market dynamics. 

Here are some essential tips to help you thrive as a buyer in a seller's paradise:

Financial preparation and market knowledge are key

In a competitive market, having your finances in order and staying current on relevant market information can give you a significant edge over other buyers. 

Get pre-approved for a mortgage to demonstrate your financial readiness and ability to close the deal swiftly. If you already have mortgage approval ready, ask your lender if they are ok without a financing condition or for financing that can be approved in 5 business days or less.

In addition, arm yourself with knowledge about the specific market conditions for your price point and product type. For example, homes under $800,000 in Calgary are moving faster and experiencing more upward pressure than homes in the luxury market. 

Set realistic expectations 

In a seller's market, you might not get everything on your wish list. 

Prioritize your needs versus wants to streamline your search and increase your chances of finding a home that meets your needs. Be prepared to compromise on certain features or locations or accept minor repair or maintenance items as-is. 

You’ll also want to search for homes below your maximum pre-approval price, as many listings sell for over the list price. Check the comparables for listings you're interested in, and be prepared to pay a bit higher than the last comparable sale.

With these expectations in mind, you can narrow in on homes within your price range that you can make strong offers on.  

Act quickly but wisely

Acting quickly doesn’t just mean being ready to make an offer fast. It also means making yourself readily available to look at homes.

Setting up instant notifications with searches and don’t delay or skip on opportunities to view a property you're keen on.
When you find a property that ticks most of your boxes, don't hesitate. In a seller's market, desirable properties often receive multiple offers within days, if not hours. 

However, rushing into a decision without due diligence can lead to regrets later. Though not all home inspectors will do them, scheduling a quick home inspection during a showing can give you such peace of mind to act quickly and decisively. 

You want to strike a balance between speed and thoroughness.

Adopt a play-to-win instead of a play-not-to-lose mentality 

In a competitive market, lowball offers rarely succeed, and it may take a few offers to close the deal. 

Embrace a play-to-win mindset by working with your real estate agent to craft a compelling offer that stands out. This might include offering above the asking price, minimizing contingencies, or being flexible with the closing timeline. 

Consider using an escalation clause, which allows buyers to increase their offer by a specific amount if the seller shows their highest offer. However, as these give buyers the last right of refusal, sellers may not always be open to them.

Make it personal 

Though real estate can feel like dog-eat-dog, many times, establishing a personal connection can make a difference. 

Penning a heartfelt letter with an attached personal photo, expressing your admiration for the seller’s home and explaining why it's the perfect fit for you or your family can tug at heartstrings and sway their decision in your favour.

Also, have your Realtor® communicate to the listing agent that you will be easy to work with and try to make the deal as smooth as possible.

Work with a skilled agent you trust

Working with a seasoned real estate agent may be your greatest asset in navigating a seller's market.  An experienced agent will bring market expertise, negotiation skills, and access to off-market listings, giving you a competitive advantage in your home-buying journey.

In a seller-driven market, success as a buyer hinges on your ability to adapt, strategize, and stay resilient amidst stiff competition, and a good Realtor will help you with all of that.  

Following these tips and maintaining a positive mindset can increase your chances of securing your dream home, even in the most challenging markets. Remember, patience and perseverance are key virtues in the pursuit of homeownership.

Want to speak to one of our team members more about this topic? Send us an email or give us a call. We’d be happy to chat with you