What Buyers Should Consider When Scouting Homes in Westchester

Read up on the seven best tips if you are looking to buy a home now or in the near future in Westchester County.

Have a great agent.

“There are so many bidding wars going on right now. It’s important to have a great agent who will guide you and not let you get in over your head,” says Dawn Knief, Julia B. Sotheby’s International Realty. “In competitive situations, having a mortgage contingency can work against you; however, if a house doesn’t appraise for the price you’ve offered, you will have to make up the difference. So be prepared.”

Have a wish list.

“It’s great to have a wish list, but in this market, compromises sometimes have to be made. Try to keep an open mind with cosmetic changes. A fresh coat of paint and refinishing the floors in an older dated home can make a big difference, even if other updates eventually need to be made,” says Knief.

Be ready to move quickly.

“Inventory is still at record lows in Westchester, and there are still plenty of eager buyers in the market. Buyers should have a current mortgage preapproval letter and/or proof of funds ready to submit. When a new house comes on the market, buyers must try to see it immediately, as good, well-priced houses will not remain on the market long. And if a buyer likes a house, they should be prepared to make an attractive offer immediately — there is no benefit in waiting. Many homes are still receiving multiple offers, resulting in very competitive bidding wars,” says Deena Weinhouse, Compass.

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Home buying
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Be creative and be flexible.

Daniel M. Berger, RE/MAX Prestige Properties says to be creative including how you present your offers, offering up options, leverage escalation clauses when possible. “I [also] always make sure I speak to the listing agent before submitting offers to gauge the interest level and what things are important to the sellers,” says Berger.

Line up your experts.

“Line up your inspectors and real estate attorney in advance so that you’re ready to move quickly when you find a house you love,” adds Knief.

Be fair and reasonable.

If issues come up in the inspection process, be fair and reasonable,” says Berger. “And don’t sweat the small things. I’ve been able to negotiate to fix safety issues by being transparent and fair, even in a multi-bid situation.”

Stay focused.

“I tell all my buyers that the key to success is to stay focused on their goals and be prepared to move quickly,” says Giselle Blanco, Douglas Elliman. “At the moment, it’s still a seller’s market and some people may find it to be discouraging. For this reason, I do everything in my power to educate my clients on current market conditions so they can move forward with confidence when an opportunity arises.”

Related: Westchester’s Housing Inventory Hits a Record Low

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