Buying a home can be an emotionally draining process, and once you’ve found the one you love, it’s natural to stress over your offer getting turned down.
Because of that, many homebuyers get caught up in bidding wars and end up overpaying. But it’s worth it for the house you want, right?
Typically, no. According to Scott McGillivray, the host of HGTV’s “Income Property” and a real estate expert who’s invested in over 100 properties, homebuyers should never go beyond market value when purchasing a house.
To avoid getting caught up in the drama of a bidding war — and potentially overpaying — McGillivray recommends deciding the maximum amount you’re willing to spend before putting an offer on the table.
“I will pick my threshold, saying, ‘The most I’m willing to pay is $US450,000, no matter what anyone else is putting in,'” he told Business Insider. “I’ll put in my price, and what I’ll do is I’ll negotiate by condition.”
If things escalate above his predetermined price threshold and he doesn’t want to lose the property, McGillivray employs a simple tactic to make his bid more appealing, even if it’s it not the highest one: He loses his conditions and creates a clean offer.
“So believe it or not, I have won properties in a bidding war without putting in the highest offer, and the way to do that is to have clean offers,” he explained. “So if somebody is offering $US500,000 and I’m offering $US450,000, but they have got all these conditions and mine’s clean, sometimes they will be willing to take mine over someone else’s.”
It’s not a guaranteed strategy going into the negotiation, but it could help you win the house as a last-ditch effort.
If it doesn’t work and you’re still tempted to increase your offer, reevaluate how much you can afford, and stick within those limits. Buying a home shouldn’t come at the expense of your other important savings goals.
“A lot of times what I see is people will have money saved for a down payment and they end up putting the entire amount toward the down payment to afford the home, and have no money leftover,” said Eric Roberge, CFP and founder of Beyond Your Hammock.
At the end of the day, it’s better to be safe than sorry. If your plan to afford a down payment involves purging your entire savings account, you might want to think twice before going through with the offer.
“Typically in a bidding war, properties will sell beyond list price, and it’s not worth paying more just to get a property because then you’re in a situation where you’ve actually paid more than market price for the home,” McGillivray said.