home buyer in a sellers market-focus on your preparation-woman doing research from her laptop in her kitchen

Home buyer in a seller’s market? Focus on your preparation

Originally published by Raymond James.

Purchasing a home is among life’s greatest milestones. But such a big buy requires careful preparation, especially in the current seller’s market. 

First things first

The first step most prospective homebuyers take when searching for a new property is to contact a reputable real estate agent. These professionals have valuable insight into homes in your desired area and can tap into their networks to expand the options available to you.

Still, finding a real estate agent is just the beginning. And it doesn’t mean you can skimp on doing your own research. Browsing the market on websites like zillow.com can give you a better idea of home prices in your target neighborhood as well as the types of houses and features you’re likely to find. This preliminary research will help you prioritize your wants and needs, as well as streamline the search process with your realtor.

On the hunt

Keeping in mind your budget for the purchase, you’ll need to work with a lender to get prequalified for a mortgage – a key move that will allow you to act quickly when you do find a house you love. If you’re not sure how to start this process, begin by contacting your financial advisor. Not only can they provide you with a comprehensive overview of your financial landscape, they can also connect you with a mortgage lender to guide you through the homebuying process.

Once you’ve identified a lender, the next step is usually to get a prequalification letter stating the amount they are tentatively willing to lend to you. This will help distinguish you as a more serious buyer to sellers. Here are a few additional points to discuss with your lender:

  • How much you want to allocate for a down payment
  • Your credit score, which will affect the interest rate you receive
  • The price range for your new home

As soon as you’ve ironed out these details, you’ll be ready to explore your mortgage options, including:

  • The type of mortgage best suited to you (options include adjustable rate, fixed rate, interest-only payments, jumbo and pledged securities mortgages)
  • The duration of your loan
  • Your estimated monthly mortgage payment
  • The interest rate of your mortgage

The negotiation

You prequalified for a mortgage and found a home that checks all your boxes. Now it’s time to make an offer. This is when all of your research can prove particularly handy.

There’s often a sense of urgency during the negotiation process. Your real estate agent might encourage you to make a competitive offer and to act fast so another buyer doesn’t beat you to it. But before committing to an offer, it’s crucial to thoughtfully consider the value of the house by taking into account details such as:

  • The price of similar homes in the area
  • How much repair or renovation you will need or want to put into the home

While weighing these factors, you might feel pressured to meet the seller in the middle, particularly if their asking price is overinflated. You might also hear pointed questions like, “Is losing this house really worth saving $2,000?” But consider how those points can apply to the seller as well.

Whether you feel pressure from your realtor, the seller or other buyers, resist the urge to act hastily. Instead, lean on what you learned from your initial research so you can confidently negotiate a fair price.

Securing “the one”

Once your offer for a home is accepted, you’ll need to schedule an inspection and an appraisal to ensure you’re getting the home and the value you’re seeking.

While some people have mixed feelings about appraisals, and some buyers are tempted to rush through this step, appraisals have become standard procedure to confirm a home’s value. This protects both your mortgage lender and you, the buyer.

Ultimately, appraisals, which are ordered by the lender on behalf of the borrower, can help you negotiate a fair price. And a thorough inspection can help you avoid costly surprises down the road.

Closing time

You’ve finally reached the last stretch of the lengthy home buying process. Here, you’ll work with your bank to finalize all of the necessary paperwork to close on your house.

Worth the effort

Buying a home can be a time-consuming and emotional process. But being prepared without cutting corners is the best way to ensure you get the home you’ve always envisioned – one where you can put down roots for years to come.

Ready to take the first step? Reach out to your advisor. They can connect you with a mortgage lender who can help you explore your home buying options.


Securities offered through Raymond James Financial Services, Inc., Member FINRA/SIPC. Investment advisory services offered through Raymond James Financial Services Advisors, Inc. OnPoint Community Credit Union and OnPoint Investment Services are not registered broker/dealers or registered investment advisers, and are independent of Raymond James Financial Services, Inc. and Raymond James Financial Services Advisors, Inc.

Securities and investment advisors services are:

Not a bank or credit union deposit, obligation or guarantee

May lose value


Not insured by any federal government agency

[hidden_text]Not a bank or credit union deposit, obligation or guarantee[/hidden_text]

Not a bank or credit union deposit, obligation or guarantee.

[hidden_text]May lose value[/hidden_text]

May lose value.

[hidden_text]Not FDIC or NCUA/NCUSIF Insured[/hidden_text]

Not FDIC or NCUA/NCUSIF Insured.

[hidden_text]Not insured by any federal government agency[/hidden_text]

Not insured by any federal government agency.

RaymondJames financial advisors may only conduct business with residents of the states and/or jurisdictions for which they are properly registered. Therefore, a response to a request for information may be delayed. Please note that not all of the investments and services mentioned are available in every state. Investors outside of the United States are subject to securities and tax regulations within their applicable jurisdictions that are not addressed on this site. Contact your local Raymond James office for information and availability.

Links are being provided for information purposes only. Raymond James is not affiliated with and does not endorse, authorize or sponsor any of the listed websites or their respective sponsors. Raymond James is not responsible for the content of any website or the collection or use of information regarding any website’s users and/or members.

Any opinions are those of OnPoint and not necessarily those of Raymond James.  Expressions of opinion are as of this date and are subject to change without notice.  There is no guarantee that these statements, opinions or forecasts provided herein will prove to be correct.  Investing involves risk and you may incur a profit or loss regardless of strategy selected.



Note: Email should not be used to share important or sensitive information.

The security and privacy of your information is important to us. When communicating with us via email please do not send any information that is considered confidential or sensitive in nature. If you need to communicate any personal information (account numbers, social security number, etc.) please feel free to call the number listed in my profile or contact OnPoint Member Services at 503.228.7077 or 800.527.3932.



You are leaving OnPoint Community Credit Union.

The website you are about to visit is the responsibility of the party providing the site. Any transactions you enter into through this third-party site are solely between you and that vendor, merchant or other party. OnPoint’s Privacy Policy does not apply to this third-party site, and for further information you should consult the privacy disclosures of this site.



Cancel Accept