Try these tips to avoid the despair that comes with buying a home in the DC region

FILE - In this Thursday, Feb. 18, 2021 file photo, a new home is for sale in Madison, Ga. Mortgage rates rose above the 3% mark this week for the first time in 10 weeks, as the economic recovery from the pandemic recession continues while inflation remains elevated. Mortgage buyer Freddie Mac reported Friday, June 25 that the average for the key 30-year home loan rose to 3.02% from 2.93% last week. By contrast, the rate stood at 3.13% a year ago.(AP Photo/John Bazemore, File)(AP/John Bazemore)

A sense of dread is understandable for those trying to land a home in the D.C. region’s competitive housing market, but there are a few things you can do to improve your chances.

“We’re seeing the hottest market since 2006,” said Corey Burr, senior vice president of TTR Sotheby’s International Realty.

He said this market is stronger than 2006 because the pandemic has all the demand being pushed at the same time.

“On the best properties in the best neighborhoods, there are multiple offers nearly all the time,” Burr said.

To win an offer, Burr said there are three tips he recommends to his clients as they try for victory in these bidding wars.

The first is to already have a loan ready to go with a lender before bidding on a home.

Next, he recommends making sure you have a realtor who knows how to win during multiple offer situations. Steps they should consider are adding in escalation clauses that let sellers know you are willing to go up in price.

There are other ways to sweeten a deal, but Burr said the realtor should know how to limit a buyer’s risk when writing up an attractive offer.

Finally, he said to get a home inspector on your team. Someone who can look at the home with you before you put in an offer.

“To make sure that there is nothing fatal about the condition, so that they [the buyer] can put in an offer without an inspection contingency,” Burr said.

Some advice to home buyers has been to write letters to the seller in hopes of convincing them to go with your offer. Burr said those have been used, but are not always effective.

“Really it’s the money and the terms that speak much louder than these ‘love letters,'” Burr said.

The hottest markets are closest to downtown D.C., according to Burr, so he said buyers should consider looking at neighborhoods a little further out.

“If a buyer wants to go into that first ring outside of the closest in neighborhoods, that’s where they’re going to find the best deals right now,” Burr said.

Silver Spring and Wheaton are among the places he said better deals are being seen right now.

Another word of advice for those struggling to seal a deal on a new home, Burr said look at homes that have been on the market for at least seven days.

Through all this, Burr said that there is one thing to keep in mind: the market is just coming out of its busiest six months, which means activity will get lighter moving forward and hopefully make things a bit easier with finding that new place.

Mike Murillo

Mike Murillo is a reporter and anchor at WTOP. Before joining WTOP in 2013, he worked in radio in Orlando, New York City and Philadelphia.

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