4 Tips for Savvy Bay Area Home Buyers

The home buying process can be daunting - especially in the Bay Area! Here are four insider tips to help make your home buying journey smoother and less-stressful:

1. Negotiate a Commission Rebate

Real estate buying agents make 2.5% of the purchase price as their commission, which can easily be $50,000+ with today’s Bay Area prices. Savvy buyers are aware of how much their agents stand to make, and secure a better deal by negotiating a commission rebate with their buying agent. That rebate could add up to tens of thousands of dollars, which can be put towards kitchen and bathroom renovations, brand new furniture or paying down your mortgage.

See who offers the largest home buyer rebates in the Bay Area.

2. Be Proactive 

The Bay Area real estate market is one of the most competitive in the country. Most desirable homes sell within two weeks of listing, and often sooner if they receive pre-emptive offers. Savvy buyers have Redfin or Zillow email alerts set up so they know immediately when new listings hit the market. They’ll visit the home as soon as possible, and ensure they’re in a position to write a pre-emptive offer if they love the home. There’s no sitting back and waiting if you’re serious about buying in this red-hot market.

3. Home Valuations Should be Data-Driven

Bay Area professionals rely on data and analytics to make daily decisions in their jobs. They bring the same approach to one of life’s biggest financial decisions - buying a home. Gone are the days when they rely on their agent’s ‘gut intuition’ of what a home is worth and might sell for. They want to see and manipulate the data, and come to their own understanding of how much a home is worth. Most real estate agents aren’t comfortable working with data, and thus buyers are left to build their own spreadsheets and algorithms, ensuring their offer will be competitive, while making sure they are not over-bidding.

See the dataset Unlocked compiles on every home that our clients are interested in by viewing our sample Custom Valuation Report.

4. Leverage the Industry’s Seasonality

Bay Area real estate is a seasonal industry (most active in the late spring and early summer months, slower during the late summer, picking up again in a fall and ending with a holiday period slowdown). But there are pros and cons to buying in “slow” vs. “peak” seasons. In slow months, there’s likely less inventory to choose from, but also not as much competition from other buyers, so you may be able to get a better deal. Conversely, in the prime spring and late fall peak months, buyers have more options, but a more active market means more aggressive bidding and higher premiums.

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