REThink Real Estate
If your agent calls the listing agent and checks the home's availability with the listing agent directly at the time you make your appointment to see the place, it will help you avoid seeing homes that are already in contract.
Finally, don't hesitate to make an offer on a place that you've seen, can afford and really like. Get educated about the contract and the contingencies you'll want to put into place, and get your mortgage ducks all in a row (i.e., get preapproved) well in advance so that you know your precise financial boundaries. This way, once you like a home, all you need to do is (a) have your agent let the listing agent know when he can expect your offer (so he waits for it if another one comes in), and (b) review the recent sales of similar homes, to decide on a precise offer price.
Once you've done these preparations, when you finally find the "right" one, you'll be positioned to make an offer soon after it comes on the market, reducing your chances of missing out on yet another property!
Tara-Nicholle Nelson is author of "The Savvy Woman's Homebuying Handbook" and "Trillion Dollar Women: Use Your Power to Make Buying and Remodeling Decisions." Tara is also the Consumer Ambassador and Educator for real estate listings search site Trulia.com. Ask her a real estate question online or visit her website, www.rethinkrealestate.com.
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