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5 Tips on Buying Your Dream Home in Today's Housing Market

5 Tips on Buying Your Dream Home in Today's Housing Market

Find The Right Agent

Donna Murray, an agent with Compass Real Estate, says that a real estate agent can make the difference between winning and losing a house, especially in this market. She advises not to use a relative, friend or neighbor who dabbles real estate. A real estate agent does so much more than just write up an offer, she says. “You should have an a fulltime experienced agent who knows the market you are looking in, understands what you are looking for, and knows how to strategically negotiate.”

In this market, the right agent will know homes that are getting listed as they happen so that you can have a jump start on the home before others.

Get pre-approved for a mortgage before you start shopping

Before you start browsing the housing market and find your dream home, you need to be pre-approved (not just pre-qualified) for a mortgage.

A mortgage pre-approval is a written statement from a lender affirming that you’ve qualified for a home loan based on an in-depth review of your employment verification, monthly budget, credit report, income, debt, and financial accounts. Including a pre-approval letter when you submit an offer on a house shows the seller that you’re a serious, a qualified buyer who has taken the time to start the mortgage process.  

Your agent will include it along with your offer on your dream home. It lets the seller know that you’ve already looked into financing and that you’re highly likely to be able to have the financing to pay for the house if they accept your offer.

Prepare To Waive Contingencies

Real estate contracts typically include a number of contingencies.

Many types of contingency clauses can be added to a real estate contract, including a sale of a prior home contingency (with this clause, if the buyer needs to sell their current home first by the deadline indicated in the contract, but they cannot find a buyer, they can escape the real estate contract) or an appraisal contingency (which safeguards the buyer by stipulating that the property must appraise for the indicated sales price, at minimum, or the contract can be nullified.).

In today’s market, some buyers need to be more malleable  than ever — and that often means letting those contingencies go. But Donna Murray suggests never compromising on things like inspections that could lead to problems down the road.

Consider both existing homes and new construction.

Keep your options open when it comes to looking for a house. Although you might have a full list of what you are looking for, prepare to bend a little. An existing home might have pricing that better aligns with your budget. Keeping your options open can help you find a home that fits your needs, even in a seller’s market.

Prepare to make your best offer.

Rely on an experienced real estate agent to guide you on what offer you should make. The agent will send you comparables, give you market updates and more to put your best offer forward.

Donna Murray is a Real Estate Salesperson with Compass Real Estate and specializes as a Listing Agent, a Buyer’s Agent, in Relocation, and Consulting. She can be reached at or 908-391-8396 with any questions. 

Donna ranked in the top % of real estate agents in Mercer County. Working together with her team helps Donna meet your needs in a timely manner and to achieve their real estate goals. To Donna real estate is not only a career but a passion. Donna partnered with Compass RE as a founding agent of their Princeton office. With the solutions-driven mindset of a startup and the sophistication of a luxury brand, Compass supports the aspirational goals Donna has set for her business. 

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