In a Seller’s Market: How to Get an Insanely Good Deal on Your First Home

best price for first home

Buying your first place can be intense, but if you are willing to hunt, there are always deals to be found. Like, always.

When I started shopping for my first home, I was overwhelmed and thought there was no way a first-time home buyer like me could find a deal. I felt like all the other shoppers knew more about real estate than I did and were going to scoop up all the deals. But don’t fret. Anyone can find a deal, you just need to know where to look.

There are situations in which a seller just wants to move on and do so quickly. Or perhaps the place has been on the market for a while, and the seller is getting jumpy

Before you go out house hunting always set a budget and create some shopping criteria — and then stick to them. While the goal is the buy a home that’s worth more than you’re paying for it, you also should always be prepared to walk away if the seller isn’t willing to give you the price you want or if a place is above your budget.

And keep in mind when searching for a deal that you don’t want to buy the cheapest place you find. Too many people make this mistake and then regret their decisions a few months later. Home buying is an emotional process — your home is the place where you are going to live, sleep and spend a lot of time, so it’s important to find a place you love.

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Buy a Short Sale

A short sale happens when a bank wants to unload a home that landed in its lap as a result of a foreclosure. The bank wants to waste no time in selling the property, and prices it to move fast (meaning much less than it’s actually worth). Some people make millions of dollars a year just buying short sales, fixing them up and reselling them quickly. The market for short sales can be competitive, as deals are a given, but that shouldn’t stop you from doing a little window shopping online. Some banks only accept all-cash offers, but not all. If you do find a short sale, be ready to move on it quickly.

Buy a Fixer-Upper

Willing to put in the elbow grease? Then you can find a deal. And the more work a place needs, the better the discount. There are plenty of older places on the market that require renovations; look for ones that you might be able to live in while you do the work.

Buy in an Up-and-Coming Neighborhood

If you live in a big city, like Philadelphia, PA, or Dallas, TX, then you probably have heard a thing or two about under-the-radar neighborhoods. If you get in early enough, then wait a few years, you are likely to turn a big profit when you sell. One of my friends in Chicago has perfected a strategy: Every few years, he buys a new place in a neighborhood that is a little bit further out from the city. He now owns three properties in neighborhoods that are appreciating, and the hunt continues for new deals. He’s only 30 and already a millionaire.

Find Motivated Sellers

Last but not least, the more desperate the seller, the better the deal for you. There are situations in which a seller just wants to move on and do so quickly. Or perhaps the place has been on the market for a while, and the seller is getting jumpy. You can use these situations to your advantage, so look for motivated sellers and be ready to put an offer in quickly.

Best of luck finding a deal on your first home. It’s probably easier than you think.