After reviewing over 50 homes and writing 17 offers, Taryn and Antonio Orellana recently closed a home in Lakewood, California.

Source: Taryn Orellana

When pandemic life started to feel too tight inside the one bedroom apartment Taryn Orellana shared with her husband Antonio, she knew they had to move.

In October, the couple decided to buy their first home in Lakewood, California. It was more difficult than they imagined.

“There were times of desperation, where we would bid on houses and we didn’t even know if this one was ‘that one’,” said Orellana, 37, nurse practitioner.

In all, the couple saw more than 50 homes and drafted 17 offers before only one was finally accepted. They beat nearly a dozen other offers and went over the asking price by about $ 40,000. They also exceeded their original budget by around $ 70,000, she said. Fortunately, it worked and the Orellanas happily settle in.

Their experience becomes the norm thanks to the limited housing supply for sale nationwide.

There are now around twice as many active real estate agents as there are listed houses.

“I’ve been in the business for over 30 years and have never seen such a hot market,” said Glenn Brunker, President of Ally Home, which provides mortgage products and services.

He often recommends taking a break and doing a little soul-searching.

“Take a look at your source of income, your employers, where you plan to buy a home and make sure that the stability of your personal situation is one that justifies home. property, ”Brunker said.

If you’re ready to buy, here’s the expert advice on how to navigate the market right now.

Calculate your budget

Get pre-approved for a mortgage

A mortgage pre-approval will give you an idea of ​​how much you’re eligible to borrow, your likely interest rate, and your monthly payment amount. mortgage payment.

However, just because you’re approved for a certain amount doesn’t mean you should be spending so much money.

“The only person responsible for your budget is you,” said Lexie Holbert, Housing and Lifestyle Specialist for

Do your homework

SDI Productions | E + | Getty Images

Get a good real estate agent

Part of your due diligence is finding a real estate agent who is experienced in buying and selling homes. They should also have a solid knowledge of the local community and relationships with other real estate agents in the area.

“You want them to be able to bargain hard and know what makes a competitive offer in this neighborhood,” Holbert said.

Stay ahead of the competition

To convince a salesperson, try to build a relationship with them. This could range from writing a sincere letter to having your real estate agent portraying you as a positive buyer.

“If you can connect emotionally with the seller through the realtor or as an individual, it makes a difference,” Brunker said.

Potential buyers visit an open house for sale in Alexandria, Virginia.

Jonathan Ernst | Reuters

First-time buyers may have an advantage if they don’t rely on the sale of a previous home to buy the new one and have some flexibility in when they can move in. One option is to rent the house to the seller while he searches for his new home.

Although some buyers forgo inspections, Brunker does not recommend this tactic because an unexpected repair can put you in financial trouble.

If you have the ability to handle a larger down payment, you can waive the appraisal contingency, allowing buyers to opt out if the home is valued below the purchase price. Your mortgage amount will go down and you will have to make up the difference.

“Removing the unexpected is not something everyone should be doing,” advised Holbert.

“Talk to your agent about the specific situation and make sure you really understand the risk.”

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