Want to buy a home for less? It’s not rocket science.

Here are a few tips that involve a little planning and effort but provide big dividends.

Get Connected

By that I mean start searching the Internet for properties in your preferred neighbourhood. Get a feel for what properties are selling for and how quickly. Make it your goal to know more about the market than even the agents in the area.

Get pre-approved

Nothing says you’re serious like a bank pre-approved credit letter. Strike up a relationship with a mortgage broker to get this organised. Pre-approval letters serve two purposes. One, they give you a clear idea how much you have to spend. That will serve as a guide to where you can buy. Two, they make your offer more appealing. An offer backed by a finance approval letter is often worth much more to a home seller than one where they know little about the buyer’s financial capacity. Sellers often accept offers for less from buyers who can make a cash offer or subject to pre-approved finance.

Build relationships with local agents

Part of your research work in stage one is getting to know the agents in your area. They can be a goldmine of knowledge and are often willing to share that knowledge with people who are actively in the market. The more market knowledge you have the more comfortable you’ll feel about making an offer.

Get on agents’ lists

Very often the best deals are done before properties ever hit the market. Often the best buys are sold before the first home open. That’s why you want to be on the list of agents who are active in your area. One early notification could be the difference between picking up a great buy and a weekend of fruitless hunting around homes open.

Be prepared to act fast

Once you have your finance in place and you’ve done some research be prepared to act – fast. The best buys are always the ones that get snapped up by the buyers who move fast. Wait around and you’ll end up competing with other offers. And that’s a recipe for paying top dollar.

Keep the special conditions to a minimum

Nervous buyers often place lots of conditions on their offer. That’s rarely appealing to the seller. If you insist on special conditions keep the time period to achieve them to a minimum.

A fast settlement is a good settlement

With rare exceptions sellers want their money quickly. Help them out with a settlement period (the period after all conditions are met) that’s as short as possible. Be guided here by the agent. They know the seller’s circumstances best.

Don’t get confused by too many advisors

Sure Uncle Harry may be helpful but sometimes too many advisors can make the process complicated. If you’ve done the research you’ll know more than Uncle Harry anyway.

Do you have any other tips? If so please leave a comment below.

Photo credit: didbygraham on Flickr

About the Author

Peter Fletcher

Peter began his real estate career in 1985 selling tin shacks and red dirt in Kalgoorlie. Moving to Perth in 1989 he quickly moved into agency ownership. By 2006, Peter had built a thriving agency managing over 600 rental properties. He then sold the business, taking time out of the industry to complete Honours in a Bachelor of Arts. Peter is now the Managing Director of Residential Settlements in Burswood and an active Army reservist. Peter has had just one hot shower since the 10th of May 2008.