How can buyers protect themselves in a seller’s market?

Q: We are house hunting, and our real estate agent warned us it is a “seller’s market,” and we need to decide quickly. This makes me nervous. What can we do to protect ourselves and still find a home for our family? — Gina

a sign in front of a building: House for sale in Springfield, Ore.

© Handout/Dreamstime/TNS
House for sale in Springfield, Ore.

A: Despite the COVID-19 pandemic, or maybe because of it, many areas are experiencing a hot real estate market.


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I have experienced several cycles of buyer and seller markets and have learned there are good and bad deals to be found in any market.

The basics of real estate do not change. First, remember that you are buying only one home, not the entire market. Keep looking until you find the house right for you. Homes are too expensive, and moving is too difficult to settle.

It would be best if you also kept realistic expectations. A deal that looks too good to be true invariably is. No matter how much you dislike house hunting, it is better than getting stuck with a money pit.

After you find a home that meets your needs, prepare the contract offer to be as straightforward as possible. Simple, well-written contracts free from unnecessary contingencies are more attractive to sellers.

The saying is “cash is king” for a reason, but a reasonable buyer making a solid offer at a fair price with a mortgage can be more attractive than a flaky cash buyer looking for a deal.

Being prepared and knowledgeable about the process will let you move faster when you find your dream home. Put together your team of professionals now. Have your mortgage pre-qualified, your home inspector and title attorney selected, and ready to do their part. Learn the process by speaking with your team so you can put your best foot forward when making the offer.

A prepared, knowledgeable buyer is desirable to a motivated seller. Sellers want to get as much money as possible from the sale, but they mostly want to work with a buyer that can successfully make it to the closing table.———


Gary M. Singer is a Florida attorney and board-certified as an expert in real estate law by the Florida Bar. He practices real estate, business litigation and contract law from his office in Sunrise, Fla. He is the chairman of the Real Estate Section of the Broward County Bar Association and is a co-host of the weekly radio show Legal News and Review. He frequently consults on general real estate matters and trends in Florida with various companies across the nation. Send him questions online at or follow him on Twitter @GarySingerLaw.


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