1. Don’t Rely On Zillow or Other Portals
People are voicing frustration because they aren’t seeing houses to buy online. There’s not a lot out there, but if you’re relying on portals like Zillow or realtor.com for your conclusion on the inventory in Fort Wayne, then I would not advise you to do that.
As much as Zillow wants you to believe it, they’re not the real estate market. A lot of transactions happen outside of Zillow, especially in a market like this, where there’s not a lot of inventory. When you work with a local agent, you’re going to find that a lot of houses don’t even go on the market; you’re not going to know about these sales.
I would recommend that you talk to a real estate agent and get that relationship set up early. They’re going to find out what you’re looking for and what you’re interested in, and you can be added to the list of people they contact when they have a listing coming up. A little piece of advice, a solo agent isn’t going to have access to as many listings as an agent on a team.
I happen to work with a team, and every week we share listings that we have coming on the market; I suspect most teams do that. I would definitely contact someone from a group and tell them you want to do a buyer consultation. It doesn’t take long, and it’s going to set you up for success. So don’t rely on Zillow for all of your information, talk to a local real estate agent!
2. Don’t Be Afraid of Competition
You think you’re going to get in crazy bidding wars and lose every one because you don’t have cash? That’s not always true. Yes, while a seller might prefer cash over a loan, I can tell you that it’s not always the case.
I was just talking to an agent on my team who helped a buyer, and the house just came on the market. The price range was around $150,000, and there were 24 offers on the home! Our buyer had the winning offer, and it might surprise you to know it wasn’t the highest offer. There are certain things that a good real estate agent can do to negotiate and make sure the offer stands out.
Real estate agents aren’t commodities, they have skills. So rely on a real estate agent, and don’t be scared of multiple offers. I would say the average buyer in our market probably loses out on two or three houses before they get one under contract, but just know that that’s the game. On the flip side, when you do win an offer, you get to take advantage of really low interest rates. Right now we’re at 3% interest rates, and you get to take advantage of the 6-8% appreciation we’re experiencing in Fort Wayne. All the experts are saying we’re going to continue that trajectory.
It can be overwhelming to think about coming into a new city you know nothing about. You’re going to be battling offers with buyers who already live in the area, but I regularly help people move into Fort Wayne and win offers. Don’t let that scare you away from wanting to get a house here.
3. Get Pre-approved If You Want to Compete
If you’re going to compete against other buyers, you need to get pre-approved. It shows real estate professionals that you’re motivated, you care, and you’re committed to this process.
If you want someone who works on 100% commission, and has a really high level of commitment, then talk to a local lender. I would take the advice of your real estate agent, and connect with the person that they recommend. If you’re moving into another city, connecting with a local lender builds the trust and credibility factor.
For example: You might have a lender in California that’s helped you on three different loans, and they say they can help you in any part of the country. However, when you go to make a competitive offer in Fort Wayne, and no one has heard of that lender, they’re probably going to overlook your offer. This is simply because the seller likes certainty, and they want to make sure that the deal’s going to close. So if another agent has a local trusted lender that people know, more times than not they’re going to go with that offer. It’s going to really serve you to connect with the local lender your real estate agent recommends.
4. Have Realistic Expectations and Be Willing to Compromise
You might be trying to buy your dream house, but I’d recommend you get something you can live with for a couple of years while you get situated in the city. This will give you time to get a better understanding of the local neighborhoods and find the perfect area you want to live in. By that time, hopefully your value has appreciated.
The same goes if you’re thinking about renting. I have a lot of people that contact me and say they’re going to be moving to Fort Wayne, but they don’t want to buy a house right now. They just want rent and try to get a feel for the area, and that’s common. I would recommend that you contact a property management company for a rental.
The downside is there’s not a lot out there, so you’re going to have a hard time finding places to rent. The rental market is just like the retail sales market; we don’t have a lot of inventory.
5. You Need to Get Connected…Let’s Talk!
Feel free to reach out to me by calling, texting, or emailing me. I can show you around Fort Wayne!
We can grab coffee or a hamburger and talk about what you’re looking for either virtually or in-person. I hope everyone has a good spring, and I hope to connect with some of you soon.