3 Tips for Buyers to Compete in our Housing Market (Part 1 of 2)

Buyer Tips and Advice graphic

Buying a home in today’s housing market is tough, with limited inventory and lots of buyers. If you are serious about buying a home, are you ready to face the competition for properties that come on the market that you like, and which fit your needs and budget.

Buyers may think that due to the pandemic homes are not selling quickly, and that there are not a lot of buyers.  Some think (or hope) that home prices are falling. However, the recent sales statistics don’t support these notions.

The reality is that we are seeing a much stronger housing market than was projected – the recovery to the slow housing market in early 2020 has exceeded many expectations with higher sales volume and rising prices. The drop in interest rates this summer has also helped to spur this recovery, sending many buyers to the market to buy.

Here are the first 3 of 5 tips to help you compete if you are financially qualified to buy, and truly serious about buying a home.


This is an essential step! You need to be able to document in writing you are financially qualified to purchase a home, and at what amount, unless you can pay cash. Information from an online mortgage calculator won’t cut it, and does not document that you are financially qualified.

A seller and listing agent will not accept an offer without a current, written pre-approval letter. And your Buyer Agent is going to want to know this, too.

The other important reason for a pre-approval is that during our pandemic many listing agents and sellers want to see a pre-approval before approving a showing request. Just saying “yes, I can afford it” will not cut it. Keep in mind that you are competing with other buyers who ARE pre-approved.


The best guidance about your local market will not come from the Internet, but from a Realtor who is successfully dealing with buyers and sellers on a daily basis. A good buyer agent knows the market conditions, can advise you on pricing for homes that interest you, will help you craft an effective offer strategy for the home you like, and will assist you through the purchase process from beginning to end. And there’s no cost.


Knowing what you need in a house is critical, and in this competitive market it’s even more important to know this…and not just have a wish list of items that may not be realistic or essential. There’s no problem having a list of features that are nice to have, but you probably don’t want to buy a property that does not fulfill your requirements just because it offers some of the items on your wish list.

With limited inventory, and the pandemic precautions and procedures we have to follow, you don’t want to waste time looking at homes that don’t meet your needs, or miss seeing properties that can work for you. When you find the house that meets your requirements, you will need to decide quickly about an offer. It will be hard to make that decision if you aren’t even sure of what it is that you really need.

Keep in mind there are likely to be trade-offs with the listings you see – while they might not check every box on your list they still can meet the majority of your requirements. So consider what you are willing, and able, to give up, or feel you can fix or add to the house later. If the house really is not right, you shouldn’t buy it. But you don’t want to be so picky that nothing you see can work – there is likely always something you’d like to have missing, but the question is how essential is it?!

Stay tuned for Part 2 where 2 other important tips for competing successfully in our housing market will be revealed:

1. Writing a strong offer

2. Moving quickly with your decisions

If I can answer any questions, or assist you with your home search here in Carlsbad or elsewhere in North San Diego County, please reach out to me at (760) 840-1360 or email me at JeffDowlerSolutions@gmail.com.