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If you are currently searching for a new home, you’re well aware of just how hot the market is right now. Homes are receiving numerous offers as soon as they hit the market, resulting in extreme bidding wars, sometimes among buyers who have never even set foot within the property! Buyers are including letters, videos, trinkets – whatever they can to try and stand out in order for sellers to accept their offer. While all this chaos sounds a bit over the top, and goodness knows, it is, you should keep the following in mind when on the house hunt:

1.) Make sure your offer is fair – remember, it doesn’t matter what everyone else is doing.

Though it may be tempting to go above and beyond when making an offer to get an acceptance, doing so is not always in your best interest. Once the offer is accepted, your lender will conduct an appraisal of the property to ensure it is actually worth what you are borrowing. If not, expect your mortgage to fall through (unless you can come up with the difference in cash). As such, it is important to research the property thoroughly, asking your realtor to pull up comparables in the area to ensure you are in fact making an offer that is fair for you (and the seller).

2.) Recognize that money isn’t the end all be all.

Contingencies matter. If you are making an offer on a home, the lighter your contingency list, the more your offer will stand out. Countless buyers use the offer process as a time to negotiate, which is a foolish move. The only contingencies you should list are fair ones, such as a home inspection or appraisal contingency. The time to negotiate is after the home has been inspected, during the option period, when you have more leverage.

3.) Know when to walk away.

Whether the bidding process goes to extremes, the seller simply won’t agree to some seriously needed repairs, or you find out the home is in worse condition than initially thought – walk away, and don’t look back. While you may be upset to lose out on the house, or even your earnest money if it is beyond a certain point in the process, you will be much more upset if you purchase the home and go in the red trying to pay for and maintain it. Another house will present itself – it is out there and will be perfect for you!

4.) Be prepared for your sale.

Purchasing a home can be a challenge, especially if you are navigating the sale of your own home simultaneously. To prepare for your sale, consider keeping boxes of your belongings off-site at a local self-storage unit. Doing so will help your home appear more spacious to potential buyers walking through and provide you with the opportunity to unpack at your leisure (especially if you end up having to live somewhere interim between sales). With prices designed to fit any budget, in almost every city, finding one is simple – and won’t break the bank!

By taking the time to research properties so that you know your offer is fair, learning when to negotiate and walk away from a contract, and renting a self-storage unit to prepare for the sale of your current house, you are well on your way to being home, sweet home! In the words of Mother Teresa, “Love begins at home, and it is not how much we do… but how much love we put in that action.”

Happy hunting!