Whether you’re a first-time buyer or have purchased real estate before, buying property in Menlo Park in a hot market can make you feel like you’re in a high-wire act.
The real estate market for this Silicon Valley community of nearly 35,000, home to Facebook headquarters, remains extremely competitive. With prices rising well into seven figures and a tight supply of homes selling after just a relatively short time on the market.
It would appear buyer demand overshadows the demand and inventory available here. Creating a market these days where the competition can be fierce. Prime properties can attract multiple offers creating intense negotiations.
Winning in this environment takes perseverance and the ability to keep patient and hopeful despite the disappointment of seeing someone else’s offer accepted for the property you really wanted. Keep faith that the right one is coming along next!
Work with a great agent
The very first task homebuyers need to do is find a local real estate agent to guide you throughout the process. Having a seasoned professional is an absolute must because things can move fast in a competitive market for Menlo Park real estate. Homebuyers need an agent who has your best interests in mind, from not only finding properties in your price range but being a reassuring, friendly voice when the search doesn’t seem to be going your way.
Get recommendations from colleagues and friends who have recently purchased homes and then check out real estate companies’ websites for more information about agents. When you’ve got a list of great candidates, interview each one and delve deeper into their resume as well as their track record of success getting buyers into homes throughout the last year. You can also get a sense of how well they know Menlo Park and its various neighborhoods; a knowledgeable agent will be able to find a home that matches your preferences.
As you’ll find during the process, an agent who is immersed and involved in the Menlo Park real estate community often knows ahead of time or immediately following when properties come on the market. We can quickly arrange a showing and begin the due diligence process. We are in tune with market and pricing trends. Once you’re ready to put in an offer on a property, your agent will refer to a list of recent sales of comparable homes, or “comps,” to help you come up with a competitive offer.
Once you’ve decided to work with an experienced Menlo Park real estate agent like Elyse Barca, there’s another step to take before wading in on viewing homes.
According to Zillow, the median price of Menlo Park homes for sale has hit $2,689,291, an increase of 9.6% during the last year. Some homes are on the market for three weeks or less before they sell.
A quick look at listings shows that many of the hot properties in Menlo Park are listed in the $3 million to $4 million range.
What’s a buyer to do? Be prepared and take the advice of your real estate pro. Here are some of the major steps:
Line up financing
Low mortgage interest rates continue to help drive the market for Menlo Park homes for sale. You should set a budget for how big of a home you think you can afford and then shop around at various banks for interest rates and terms. Lenders will want to see your monthly income, credit score, and other financial data so they can determine how big of a loan you will qualify for.
Unless you are able to plow the profits from the sale of another home into your down payment, make sure you have enough money saved up to put at least 20% down on the purchase of Menlo Park homes for sale.
Have that lender issue you a preapproval letter, which you can then show to sellers as proof that your financing is solid and will give them peace of mind if they accept your offer.
Make a strong offer
When you find a home you really want, it’s time for you and your agent to come up with a strong, competitive offer that will hold up against other offers, including potentially some all-cash offers.
Here are some tips for strengthening your offer:
- Present a clean offer, or one largely free of contingencies, which essentially will remove any complications down the road. For instance, don’t ask for help with closing costs and accept the seller’s inspection report, as long as it was conducted by a reputable company. Your agent will have solid advice on this front.
- Offer above asking price for Menlo Park real estate. Attractive homes in hot markets often sell for above listing price, so strategize with your agent on a price that could get your offer accepted.
- Increase your earnest money deposit, otherwise known as a good-faith deposit, above the traditional 3%. That will show the buyer you are serious about getting their house.
- Increasing your down payment is another way to strengthen your offer in the face of competition. Consult with your agent about how high you can go on this and still have money left over for other things if your offer is accepted.
- Find out if the seller has any special needs. For instance, the sellers might need a quick closing if they are moving to a new job out of the area or have a new home they want to get into. On the other hand, a seller might need more time to look for a new house. To sweeten the offer, you could consider offering a rent-back if they accept your offer. That might mean finding a rental for a few months but remember, you need to play every angle possible in a competitive situation.
There are other steps that an experienced professional will suggest and that will further increase your odds of success.
If you are interested in purchasing Menlo Park property for sale, let Elyse Barca put her extensive experience to work for you.