At a time when there is a shortage of homes for sale in Montgomery, buyers need to give themselves an edge on the competition for their dream home.

home buyer1. Get pre-approved for financing prior to shopping for your dream home. Three to four months before you start shopping for your dream home do some homework. Review your credit scores and take action to clear up any credit discrepancies. Michael Corbett, author of Before You Buy, then recommends getting a bank or mortgage lender to pre-approve your loan. That does not guarantee you will receive a loan, but it shows credibility to the sellers and realtors involved with your potential transaction. It shows you can afford a mortgage for a given amount.

2. Don’t lowball your first offer on a property you really want. In the current market there are often multiple buyers interested in the same property. You may not have a second chance to “sweeten the deal” later. Make sure your Realtor has provided you with comparable property prices that justify your offer. Submit a strong offer the first time.

3. Consider an escalator clause in your offering contract. This is a clause where you agree to increase your offer if a higher offer is received by the seller.

4. Add extra earnest money to your deposit. This signals to the seller that you are really serious. To show your true commitment, consider doubling what the seller has asked for as a deposit.

5. Keep contingencies to a minimum when writing the final contract. Take a good hard look at the property and temper your contingency demands. The more chance there is the deal will not go through due to financing or inspections contingencies, the less inclined the seller will be to accept your offer.

6. Give the gift of time to the seller. Express your willingness to work with the sellers to make the closing timetable convenient to them. Be willing to close on the purchase and lease back to them if their timing is difficult. If you’re bidding on a short sale make it clear you understand the timeframe could be drawn out. Express your patience to work with sellers.

7. Consider using a Realtor to help you find your dream home. Such help can be invaluable, especially when it comes to the details of a contract. Best of all the sellers often pay for the cost of the buyers’ agent through commission split at the closing.

Information courtesy of Montgomery Alabama Realtor Sandra Nickel, Sandra Nickel Hat Team Realtors.