While you can get bargains on everything from flat-screen TVs to clothing and more on Black Friday, did you know that you also can apply some of the same shopping strategies when it comes to scoring a deal on a new house? Here, a few Black Friday-inspired moves that can work wonders in this arena, too.
1. Strike early
Much like you can take advantage of special deals that stores offer right when their doors open, the “early bird gets the worm” rule also can be applied to home buying. There are several ways to beat the crowds. For starters, get pre-approved for a mortgage to show home sellers that you can afford the house.
Then make sure you spot listings as soon as they go live, and don’t wait if you see something you like. In a hot market, houses can get multiple offers the same day they’re listed.
There also are ways to strike even before a house is placed on the market. Instead of asking your real estate agent for their current listings, ask if there are any listings he or she is working on where the seller hasn’t signed on quite yet.
You could potentially save a bundle by making an offer on a house before it goes on the market since you’re negotiating with these home sellers before they’re enticed by other offers that could drive up the price.
2. Stick to your shopping list
It can be tempting to get caught up in the frenzy of a sale on Black Friday. While that’s fine if you have tons of cash, it’s not so great if you’re on a budget. The solution? Write down your shopping list and stick with it to ensure you get exactly what you want and nothing more. The same applies to home shopping.
Before you start looking, make a list of all the non-negotiable features you’re looking for in your new home. Then, if a place doesn’t have everything on the list, don’t go see it. This way, you won’t get excited about a house unless it truly has everything you need.
3. Don’t fall for a discount unless it’s truly a deal
Signs screaming “30 percent off!” are hard to miss, but have you ever noticed that these signs might be on the priciest of the entire collection that still costs a bundle, discount or not? In a similar manner, real estate listings with “Price Reduced!” signs might certainly catch your eye, but don’t assume they’re bargains before you’ve conducted some research.
Many homes might be initially overpriced, and even a price reduction might not set things right. The best way to know what a house is truly worth is through comps—or comparable properties that have sold recently in the area. While not exact, this will help know which houses are and aren’t overpriced.
4. Make sure it’s exactly what you want
A great discount is only as good as the product you get for it, and if it turns out you don’t like it, whatever you’ve bought is a waste. Similarly, on the home-buying side of things, don’t be so dazzled by a low price tag that you don’t check out what could be hiding behind it.
Toward that end, get a thorough home inspection to learn everything you can about a house. That way, if the roof is run-down, for example, and you’ll have to pay $50,000 in a few years to replace it, you can factor that into your deal and decide if it’s right for you. The more you learn, the better you’ll know if a house is worth your while.