Kate Hogan -Amherst, MA real estate, Hadley, MA real estate, Northampton, MA real estate
Kate Hogan - Amherst & Pioneer Valley Realtor


Looking to put together an offer on a house? Ultimately, you'll want to submit a competitive first offer. By doing so, you can speed up the process of acquiring your dream residence.

When it comes to submitting a competitive home offer, however, it is important to understand what differentiates a "fair" proposal from a subpar one.

To better understand how to submit a competitive proposal, let's take a look at three best practices that every homebuyer needs to consider before making an offer on a house.

1. Evaluate the Housing Market

If you plan to buy a house, you'll want to examine the real estate market closely. That way, you can identify housing market patterns and trends and plan accordingly.

For example, if you find there is an abundance of high-quality houses available, you may be entering a buyer's market. In this market, there likely is a shortage of homebuyers, which means a competitive offer at or near a home seller's asking price is sure to grab this individual's attention.

On the other hand, if you notice that homes are selling quickly in a city or town, you may need to prepare for a seller's market. If you pursue houses in a seller's market, you may need to act quickly due to the sheer volume of buyers competing for the same residences.

Clearly, a comprehensive housing market analysis can make a world of difference for homebuyers. With in-depth housing market insights at your disposal, you'll be better equipped than other buyers to submit a competitive first offer on any residence, regardless of the current real estate market's conditions.

2. Get Your Finances in Order

What good is a competitive home offer if you cannot afford to buy a residence? If you secure a home loan, you can narrow your home search to properties that you can afford. Then, you'll be able to submit a competitive offer that ensures you won't have to break your budget to purchase your dream residence.

Also, if you're unsure about how your financial situation will impact your ability to buy a house, you should consult with banks and credit unions in your area. These financial institutions can help you get pre-approved for a home loan, establish a homebuying budget and much more.

3. Collaborate with a Real Estate Agent

When it comes to submitting a competitive home offer, it pays to receive expert homebuying support. Fortunately, you can hire a real estate agent who is happy to help you put together a competitive home offer.

A real estate agent can provide housing market data that you may struggle to obtain elsewhere. Plus, this housing market professional can offer unbiased home offer recommendations to ensure you can get an instant "Yes" from a home seller.

Collaborating with a real estate agent is a great option for homebuyers in all cities and towns. Reach out to local real estate agents today, and you can get the help you need to submit a competitive offer on any residence.


Image by Muntzir Mehdi from Pixabay

A seller's market poses a challenge for any buyer - when there are more buyers competing for homes than there are homes in market, you have to be ready to move swiftly when you find a home you like. Since the inventory of luxury homes is usually small when compared with more conventional homes on the market, a seller's market could make it more difficult to get the home you want, even if your financial details are in order and you're ready to buy. 

What is a Seller's Market? 

A seller's market simply means that there are more people who want to buy a home than there are homes for sale. When this happens, homes can move very swiftly -- some will sell within days of listing -- and buyers need to be able to offer appealing contracts to secure a home. While the luxury market often contains a smaller inventory, there are also fewer buyers competing for homes, but the market can still favor sellers. 

Tips for Buying a Luxury Home in a Seller's Market

Visit in Person: Your real estate agent can help narrow down the possibilities and you can even send someone ahead to take a first look for you -- but you should view the home sooner rather than later if you want to see it in person before you buy. Luxury homes in high end vacation destinations can go very quickly in a sellers market, so you may not have the amount of time you are used to for viewing the property. 

Streamline the Process: Work with your luxury real estate agent to prepare a compelling offer that is free of contingencies, or as free as it can be. The fewer conditions you have and the easier you are to deal with, the more likely it is the seller will accept your offer. Offer a swift and easy closing, request no contingencies and be ready to go swiftly when you find the home you want.  

Have Financing in Place: If you need a mortgage, you should have your details worked out and ready to go. A seller with an advantage will be reviewing multiple offers and yours should indicate there will be no delays in closing. If you are a cash buyer, the funds should be available in time for closing; make preparations early and assume you will need to close within a month. 

Be Prepared to Pay Full Price: The most common impact of a seller's market is that homes sell for the asking price -- or even more than the list price. Your agent can help you determine if a full price offer is right, or if you should even consider offering above the selling price. This is most likely in a hot market where homes are selling as soon as they list. If the home is still available after a week on the market, a full price offer may not be needed, if everything else is in order. 

Make the most of the process by working with a skilled agent who is familiar with the complexities and demands of the luxury market. They will be more adept at helping you find and secure the property you want than a conventional agent. When you do find a home you like, be ready to act quickly so it does not get away; these steps will help ensure you don't miss out on a property you love. 


As the workforce changes and a growing number of companies seek out contractors and freelancers, many Americans find themselves in a gray area when it comes to their income. They may put in full-time hours, but on their taxes they work for themselves.

Mortgage lenders are cautious about who they lend to. They want to make sure you are a low-risk investment who has reliable, predictable income to ensure that they’ll earn money off of your loan.

This can sometimes make it difficult for freelancers, contract workers, or the self-employed. Not only might your taxes be unconventional, but your income could vary depending on the time of the year and the amount of business you receive.

It’s easy to see why many people would be anxious about applying for a mortgage under these circumstances. However, if you’re self-employed, there’s no need to worry. You can still get approved for a mortgage at a fair interest rate--you just need to do a bit of work to provide the right documents to your lender.

In this article, we’ll show you what documents and proof of income you’ll likely need and how to present it to a lender to make the process run as smoothly as possible to get you approved for your mortgage. Here’s what you need to do.

Organize your records

Before applying for a mortgage, it’s a good idea to take a look at your record-keeping process. As a self-employed worker, you’re probably already used to tracking your own income. However, this will help the lender analyze your income easier and move the process along more quickly.

Having a master spreadsheet of your dated invoices, paid amounts, and the names of your clients is a good place to start. You’ll also want detailed, easy to read information for your previous employers, landlords, references, and any other information you think will be pertinent.

Next, gather your tax documents for the last three to five years. As a self-employed worker, you likely file a Schedule C (Form 1040) and a Schedule SE. Make sure you have copies of these forms.

Dealing with deductions

Many self-employed workers write off business expenses in their tax returns. Travel expenses, internet, and other costs associated with doing business are all ways to save by reducing your taxable income. Doing so can save you money, but it can also reduce your net income which is what lenders will see when you provide them with your information.

If you’re hoping to get approved for a bigger loan, one solution is to plan your taxes in the year prior to applying for a mortgage. Make fewer deductions than you normally would to increase your net income.

Be ready to clarify

When a mortgage lender is reviewing your information, make sure you are open and available to provide any information that can be helpful to them in considering your application. Being prompt and accurate with your responses will signal to your lender that you are willing to work with them.


With 24 hours before you finalize your home purchase, you might feel a mix of anxiety and excitement.

What will it be like to finally own a home? How will the home closing process go? And what will I need to do to ensure everything goes seamlessly as you wrap up your home purchase? These are just some of the common questions that homebuyers consider in the hours leading up to a home closing.

It is important to prepare as much as possible before you complete a home purchase. Lucky for you, we're here to help you do just that.

Let's take a look at three tips that you can use to get ready to finish a home purchase.

1. Get Your Paperwork in Order

You may need multiple forms of identification and other essential documents when you close on a home. Thus, you should put together a folder of any must-have documents at least a day in advance.

If you find that documents are missing, retrieve them as quickly as possible. Also, try to get multiple copies of important documents if you can.

When it comes to getting ready for a home closing, it usually is better to over-prepare. Therefore, if you plan ahead as much as you can, you'll have all of the documents you need to complete the home closing process without delay.

2. Finish Any Last-Minute Packing

After you finalize a home purchase, you'll be ready to move in to your new home. As such, you should ensure that all of your belongings are packed up and ready to go.

If you're vacating an apartment, ensure that you've notified your landlord and provided sufficient notice about your upcoming move. That way, you'll be able to finish your rental agreement on good terms with your landlord.

Also, if you need extra help for your move, be sure to reach out to a moving company or family members and friends. And if you require a moving truck, don't forget to rent one in the days leading up to your move.

3. Consult with Your Real Estate Agent

The day before a home closing can be stressful, particularly for first-time homebuyers. If you have any concerns about the home closing process, be sure to consult with your real estate agent.

Your real estate agent likely has been a life-saver throughout the homebuying process thus far and will continue to assist you in any way possible. If you have questions about the home closing cycle, your real estate agent will respond to your queries immediately.

In addition, your real estate agent can teach you the ins and outs about what will happen before, during and after a home closing. He or she will explain what to look for during a final home walk-through, what home closing forms that you'll need to sign and what to expect after a home purchase.

Streamline the home closing process – use these tips, and you can get take the guesswork out of finalizing a home purchase.


Let's face it – there are many risks that you may face during the homebuying journey. From submitting an offer on a house that ultimately proves to be a poor investment to failing to obtain a mortgage due to a bad credit score, there are various issues that may prevent you from achieving your desired results. Lucky for you, we're here to help you focus on the task at hand and eliminate potential risks as you search for your ideal residence.

Now, let's take a look at three tips to help you avoid risks throughout the homebuying journey.

1. Set Realistic Homebuying Expectations

How you search for a home may determine whether you are successful or unsuccessful. For example, if you evaluate houses that fall outside your price range, you may struggle to find a home that you can actually afford. On the other hand, if you establish realistic homebuying expectations from the get-go, you may be able to streamline your house search.

Think about where you want to live and how much you can afford to pay for a home. Also, you should consider home must-haves and wants. With this information at your disposal, you can avoid the risk of missing out on an opportunity to acquire a residence that matches your expectations.

2. Get a Mortgage

Getting pre-approved for a mortgage is pivotal. Because if you obtain a mortgage today, you can enter the housing market with a budget and narrow your house search accordingly. Perhaps most important, a mortgage enables you to avoid the temptation to pursue homes that be priced beyond your budget.

Consult with banks and credit unions, and you can learn about a broad array of mortgage options. Then, you can select a mortgage and kick off your search for your dream residence.

3. Work with a Real Estate Agent

Problems may arise at any point during the homebuying journey. And if you're unsure about how to address these issues, it may be tough for you to acquire your ideal residence. Fortunately, if you hire a real estate agent, you may be able to identify and address homebuying problems before they escalate.

A real estate agent understands the housing market and is happy to share his or her expertise with you. This housing market professional can teach you about the differences between a buyer's and seller's market, help you prepare a homebuying strategy and much more.

Let's not forget about the assistance that a real estate agent can provide as you get ready to submit an offer on your dream home, either. A real estate agent will help you craft a competitive homebuying proposal. Furthermore, he or she will negotiate with a seller's agent on your behalf and do everything possible to ensure you can acquire your dream residence at a budget-friendly price.

Take control of the homebuying journey – use the aforementioned tips, and you can limit risk as you search for your ideal house.




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