7 tips for buyers in Hartford County’s tight home sale market

·2 min read

Homebuyers are finding the market tough in Hartford County — and across Connecticut — as the number of single-family houses and condominiums has dwindled significantly, touching off bidding wars and jammed open houses.

So, how should buyers pursue a purchase?

Carol Christiansen, president of CT REALTORS, a trade group with 17,000 members across the state, suggests these tips:

Work with a reputable lender

Choose a lender who can offer financing that fits your needs with a preapproval. A prequalification is not enough in a market that demands quick action. “Better yet, go the mortgage application before you find the property,” Christiansen said.

Be sure to provide all necessary documentation in advance that is required by the lender. Taking this step will allow you to provide a mortgage commitment letter, subject to getting the appraisal. “This will make you more of a contender if you are competing with multiple offers,” Christiansen said.

Establish clear priorities prior to house hunting

Make a list of what you need, what you would want and what you would wish for in a home. Make sure any house you make an appointment to see suits all your needs. Houses that also check boxes in your wants or wishes you should see first.

Be ready to see new listings

“If it’s Monday morning and you aren’t available to see the property until Thursday, you will most likely be out of luck,” Christiansen said. If sellers have offers, it isn’t likely they will want to wait.

Be prepared to move quickly

Once you find a house on which you want to make an offer, acting swiftly is key. “Unfortunately, there is little time to ‘go home and sleep on it,’ " Christiansen said.

Learn about the neighborhoods where you may want to buy

Christiansen said you should already know something about the neighborhood, schools or anything else that you would need to know to make an informed decision.

Make a competitive offer

Expect to offer over asking price if the house has just been listed or is in move-in condition, Christiansen said. It is not unusual to see offers 10% or 20% above asking. If you have a definitive budget, one strategy is to look in a lower price range than you are qualified for, so your offer can be more competitive.

Offers aren’t just about price

Sellers also will look at terms and conditions of a contract. One strategy could involve offering a larger deposit or allowing the seller to set the closing date.

Kenneth R. Gosselin can be reached at kgosselin@courant.com.

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