Nashville has become one of the hottest real estate markets in the country. With the booming market, there is pressure for buyers to move quickly to find the right property, all while competing against multiple offers from families who are willing to make a commitment to a home immediately. Regardless of whether you are buying or selling a home, it is important that you have realistic expectations of what your experience will be like in order to come away satisfied with your purchase.
One of the most important ways to prepare for this hot market is to do your research. Prepare in advance for the fast pace of the buying market; know individual neighborhoods, be familiar with the types of properties available, and begin building a relationship with an agent that you trust. This competitive market doesn’t have to be discouraging if you are prepared in advance, and you will reap the rewards of investing in the search. Prepare to be up against multiple offers regardless of the home you are purchasing, and budget to spend more money on an offer then you might have spent a year ago.
Be proactive about your search. While I will consistently be working with other agents and checking MLS for listings, during a hot market, it is essential that we partner together to find your new home. I’d encourage you to drive neighborhoods looking for “coming soon” signs. Your agent cannot be in all neighborhoods at all times, and in this type of market it will take the buyer and agent aggressively looking as a team to find a property that is the right fit. I will be pulling all of my resources, but need your partnership to be an active competitor in this market.
Adjust your expectations. In a hot market, you can’t get a screaming deal. Nashville has been an “increasing market” for the last two years. Month after month prices are steadily increasing. What something sold for six months ago is not what something will sell for today. You may pay more for a property today then you think you should, but based on the trend over the last two years, your investment will see its return. While I will always help you find the best house for the most affordable price, the reality in this market is that you will not get the cheapest price. If you are uncomfortable making an offer at or over list price, I would encourage you to look into neighborhoods with cheaper entry-level price points. Most homes are selling for more than their listing price, and agents are negotiating for days after initial offers are made. Adjust your shopping budget up front to account for more expensive real estate. Remember that no house is perfect. Every house has a story, with its own character and areas that need improvement.
It’s crucial to know the entry-level price point for each neighborhood where you are looking for a home. For example, if you want to buy in Green Hills, $400,000 is the entry-level price point. With a fierce market, the homes priced at the entry-level price point are the most competitive and sought after. Entry-level price point properties are also the most attractive properties for investors, and investors tend to be better equipped to make a higher offer. Knowing entry level price points for different neighborhoods will allow you to plan and budget accordingly, and be realistic about finding a home in a particular neighborhood that meets your needs. If you do find a home at the entry level price point, be prepared to put money and time into the home to make it move in ready, or to be extremely aggressive in your initial offer.
Consider moving outside of Nashville proper. Looking at neighborhoods outside of the city limits may be the best option for your family. Because Nashville is growing, neighborhoods further out provide more affordable housing options. Work with your agent to identify new neighborhoods you may not be familiar with.
Get mortgage preapproval before you start shopping. This will allow you to invest all of your energy in shopping for a home, rather then navigating the mortgage preapproval process and home buying market at the same time. Spend time finding a lender, building a relationship with them, and having the preapproval process completed so you feel confident that you will be ready to make an offer when you find the right home.
One of my realtor friends encourages her clients to separate their needs from their wants when shopping for a home, and I could not agree more. It is vital to know what you need versus what you’d like, and to prioritize your needs accordingly. Be prepared to make compromises. Knowing what you need and want you want will help you set realistic expectations about the type of home you are willing to invest in, and prepare you to make an offer when you find it.
My final tip for buying a house in this competitive market? Be ready to move fast. Expect to make an offer the day you see the house. If you aren’t ready to make a purchase, wait until you are before starting the search process. If you like the home after you’ve seen it, make the best offer you can. Moving quickly with an offer will make you attractive to the seller, and will allow you a chance to compete in this competitive market.