One thing is true of buyers and sellers: Sellers want to get the highest price and best terms, and buyers want the lowest price and most favorable terms. Buyers are feeling the heat in today’s competitive housing market, and it’s more important than ever to have a great plan in place before you begin to shop for your new home.

Hire a good local agent who is up-to-date on market trends and recent sales.

When it comes to one of the biggest transactions of your life, you want a real estate professional who has local expertise. You should find an agent with whom you feel comfortable from the start and someone you envision getting along with over the course of an intense several months. Like the home you are buying, your choice of Realtor should be based on interviews and research. Your Realtor should be able to provide property details on available homes in the immediate area, be accredited and have a prominent local market presence – especially when it comes to bidding in competitive markets.

The best negotiators realize that in many cases it’s more important to solve a problem than to offer the most money, and having an honest and upfront discussion about negotiating strategy will save time and potential headaches in the long run. Your Realtor will explain the pros and cons of different negotiating strategies based on your specific situation.

Have all of your financing in place.

Unless you’re paying cash, you will need to establish that you can seal financing and close on time. A mortgage preapproval is a must when you’re a contender for your dream home in a competitive housing market, and unnecessary delays can jeopardize a deal. Prepare yourself with the strongest bid and ensure that you are backed by an official letter from a reliable local lender.

Act quickly.

If you drive by a home for sale that you love or come across a listing, move quickly and request a showing. With competitive markets, it is not unusual for a Realtor to encourage you to make a quick decision and draw up an offer on the same day that you tour the home.

Make the offer that shows you’re motivated.

Once you’ve made the connection with a home, it’s imperative for you to put in an initial offer that is impressive and looks at the bigger picture. The dollar amount is certainly important, but buyers who make financially competitive offers with few contingencies get the attention of sellers.

Consider the situation and perspective of the seller.

You don’t have to pay cash or even offer the highest price to have the winning bid when you consider the circumstance and perspective of the seller. If your sellers have already purchased a second home, you may consider reducing their out-of-pocket expenses by offering to pay their share of the settlement fees. Your Realtor can provide you with an accurate estimate of those costs to make sure that you are in a healthy position to pay for them.

We value honesty and transparency at every step of the real estate process, and Network Realtors understand the importance of the initial offer and negotiation in competitive markets. Contact Network Real Estate to begin the process of purchasing a home in the desirable city of Wilmington, N.C.