Old colonial house in the United States.

Even in a buyer's market, be financially prepared to make an offer as you start the house hunting process. (iStockPhoto)

Market conditions have never been stronger for buyers in most of the country, which means there are lots of homes for sale with many sellers looking to make a deal. It has never been a better time to buy a home, and here are a few strategies to capitalize on a housing market that is tilting in the buyer’s favor.

To buy a house in a buyer's market, follow these recommendations:

  • Organize your finances.
  • Consider fixer-uppers.
  • Check out up-and-coming neighborhoods.
  • Manners matter.
  • Utilize agent intel.
  • Be patient.
  • Remember: penny wise, pound foolish.

[Read: What to Expect From the Housing Market in 2020.]

Organize Your Finances


Make sure you have a clear handle on your finances in advance of your home search. What is your realistic budget? Cash is always king, but for those who plan on financing the purchase, get a loan preapproval letter from a mortgage banker. The buyer who has done his or her homework and is prepared and ready to move fast is more appealing to a homeowner who is in a hurry to sell.

Consider Fixer-Uppers

Are you open to doing work on the home you buy? This is where the deals are. Most buyers do not want to invest the time and energy in a fixer-upper. These are the listings that linger on the market and could be an opportunity for the savvy buyer.

Check Out Up-and-Coming Neighborhoods

Urban sprawl has created more and more great neighborhoods. Expanding your radius might open you up to an opportunity. Real estate agents are generally very knowledgeable about neighborhood trends and new opportunities in their markets.

[See: 7 Tips for Updating Your House in an Up-and-Coming Neighborhood]

Manners Matter

Agents take careful note of the customers who come in to view properties. Respectful and polite behavior from the prospective buyer goes a long way. Homes are personal – sellers want to get top dollar, but they also like to sell to people who love their home. In a recent listing with multiple buyers interested in purchasing the home, the seller ultimately chose the buyer who said he loved it just the way it was, as opposed to another buyer who said he was going to gut renovate it. It's not that a new owner is not entitled to renovate a home as they please, but if the home is not in obvious need of repair, it may be best to keep these plans to yourself.

Utilize Agent Intel

Real estate agents have the pulse of the market. Ask them where the deals are. They also are in touch with new developments. For example, sponsors of new developments in New York City advertise deals to agents that a buyer might not be aware of.

Be patient

It is OK to make a lowball offer, but if you don’t get the counter you had in mind, be patient and wait it out. Over time, the seller may see the light and change his tune. Many sellers in a buyer's market soften and come back to offers that were made months prior. Sometimes sellers just need more time to face the reality of the current marketplace. After all, it may be a harsh reality for some, and take a bit of time to process psychologically.

[Read: What Will the Housing Market Look Like in the Next Recession?]

Remember: Penny Wise, Pound Foolish

Do not get so focused on winning every aspect of the deal that you lose sight of the big picture, which is buying a dream home for a great price. Many buyers are so worried about leaving money on the table that they don’t realize they are getting a home that is already deeply discounted. They have already “won.” Keep your eye on the prize and don’t get nitpicky.

Everyone is looking for a good deal, and for today’s buyer, this is the market to get it. In much of the U.S., buyers have never had a market this good. It's important to remember that one only knows the perfect time to transact in the rearview mirror. If you can find a home that you love at a great price, buy it. It is not a stock or commodity, it is your home where you live, and it will hopefully bring you many years of joy. More importantly, nothing remains this good forever. It is only a matter of time before the pendulum swings and real estate is back to being a seller’s market again.

Tags: real estate, housing, housing market, home prices, existing home sales, pending home sales, new home sales, moving


Wendy Arriz is a licensed real estate broker with Warburg Realty in New York City. An accomplished real estate professional, Arriz has been ranked a Top 10 Warburg Producer four years in a row in 2019, 2018, 2017 and 2016. She was also named one of America’s Top Real Estate Agents by Sales Volume in the 2018 REAL Trends ranking in 2018 and 2019. Known for her sophisticated eye, discretion and sharp attention to detail, Arriz has brokered transactions and represented clients across Manhattan's luxury co-op, condo and townhouse marketplaces.

After earning a degree in Economics from the University of Pennsylvania, Arriz worked in wholesale sales for several top fashion designers in New York City. While her business sense, tireless work ethic and integrity fuel her success, most importantly, she believes wholeheartedly that one’s living space should be not only an investment but also a home and sanctuary.

Arriz has resided on the Upper East Side for over 30 years and currently lives in Carnegie Hill with her husband, three children and her miniature schnauzer, Lucy.

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