Inventory is low and there are a lot of active buyers. This makes it more of a challenge to find and get what you want.

Some buyers I have worked with have been frustrated with their failure to get what they want, commonly not because they couldn’t find something they liked but because they lost out to another buyer. I want to go over with you the mistakes I’ve seen them make so you can avoid those.

First is not having a clear vision of what they want. When you are undecided on what you really want then you will be undecided about houses or condos you go to see. This can lead to the “We realized that the house we saw last month was something that would work great for us but when we checked on it we saw that it was under contract” mistake.

Hesitation in this market is a mistake and adequate preparation is the best way to avoid it.

You should start by deciding on what you want to get, where you want to get it and what price range you want to be in. Get as detailed as you can to start but realize that you may need to check out some areas or communities and look at some homes to narrow things down to be able to get more accurate. Indecision will often lead to regrets later but by having decisions and a clear description of what you want early on you won’t run into that problem as much.

Decision making is also important when you know what you want and you are viewing properties. The ability to decide right away that something isn’t right is important as is the ability to decide that something is worth submitting an offer on fairly quickly.

If you are concerned that you don’t want to rush into something, I can understand that. But having a clear idea of what you do and don’t want puts you into a condition where you are able to decide quickly. ‘Rushing into something’ is basically the same as ‘making a wrong decision’ and the main reason you would make a wrong decision is if you don’t already know what would be a ‘yes’ and what would be a ‘no’.

The other aspect of preparation that is needed is having the financial aspect of your purchase lined up. If you will be paying cash then this won’t be difficult at all. If you are getting financing you will need to have a preapproval in hand when you find something you want to buy to have any chance of getting it (and preferably a loan commitment which will give you the best advantage you can have – ask me how to get this).

A delay of a day or two to get a preapproval or loan commitment can easily mean that the house or condo you finally found that is right for you goes under contract with another buyer before you can even submit your offer. This is true is many market conditions but even more true in our current conditions.

A final mistake to avoid is to have a wrong estimation of the current market. Thinking you’ll be able to buy at prices from 2 years ago; assuming that banks will accept significantly lower offers on short sales and foreclosures; deciding that since a property has been on the market for 3 months or 6 months means it won’t sell right away and you’ll have time – these are all mistakes I’ve seen clients make that they then later wish they hadn’t.

You can only be successful in buying by knowing and dealing with the current market conditions for the local market and using the correct strategies that work best for those conditions.

When you are ready to buy, let’s go over what you need to do to be prepared so you can be successful.