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Strategic Tips for Buyers: Unleashing Leverage in Today’s Housing Market, says Gary Wisenbaker

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In a competitive housing market, Gary Wisenbaker reveals the key strategies that can unlock unparalleled leverage for buyers, helping them secure their dream home amidst fierce competition and soaring prices.

In a real estate market characterized by elevated mortgage interest rates and scarce existing home inventory, potential homebuyers are often left wondering how they can enhance their leverage and secure their dream home. With mortgage interest rates hovering around 7.5% yet competition remains fierce.

However, savvy buyers have an array of options at their disposal to improve their position when making an offer on a house. From negotiating repairs and closing costs to creative solutions like mortgage interest rate buy-downs and post-closing seller possession agreements, buyers can actually create leverage.

Asking for repairs

When making an offer on a house, requesting repairs can be an effective way to gain leverage. In a cooling seller’s market, homeowners may be more inclined to agree to necessary repairs or improvements to ensure a smooth sale where the buyer is close to or at the asking price. This has the added effect of increasing the value of the buyer’s investment. And in negotiating for repairs, a buyer might agree to forego certain items in exchange for a lower purchaser price or a seller credit at closing, the latter of which would reduce the buyer’s amount to bring to closing.

Asking sellers to contribute to closing costs

Another strategy to enhance your position is to ask sellers to contribute to closing costs. Closing costs can add up significantly, making homeownership challenging, especially for the first time homebuyer. In many cases, sellers are willing to negotiate on this front, as it can expedite the sale and make the deal more attractive to prospective buyers. Buyers should consider this as a win-win scenario that can alleviate some financial pressure when buying a home.

Seller-funded mortgage interest rate buy-down

One innovative approach to increasing leverage is negotiating with the seller to buy down the mortgage interest rate. If the lender permits it, the seller can contribute funds toward reducing the buyer’s interest rate, making the financing more affordable. This strategy can be particularly enticing in a high-interest rate environment, as it lowers monthly mortgage payments and reduces the long-term financial burden on the buyer.

Seller’s post-closing possession

In a competitive housing market, buyers might also consider allowing the seller to remain in possession of the property for a specified duration after closing. This arrangement can provide several advantages to both parties. For sellers, it offers the flexibility to secure their next home without rushing the move. For buyers, it can be an appealing compromise in exchange for a more favorable offer or faster closing. Such arrangements should be carefully structured and documented to protect the interests of all parties.


In a market where inventory is scarce and demand is high, securing pre-approval can significantly enhance your leverage. In fact, many sellers today require proof of pre-approval status prior to showing the home to prospective buyers. Plus, these offers signal to sellers that you are a serious and financially stable buyer, reducing the risk of the deal falling through due to financing issues. A pre-approved buyer can often expedite the closing process, which can be an appealing factor for sellers.

Navigating a competitive real estate market with high mortgage interest rates and limited inventory may seem daunting, but buyers have several strategies at their disposal to enhance their leverage. By employing tactics like requesting repairs, asking for contributions to closing costs, negotiating mortgage interest rate buy-downs, and considering post-closing possession agreements, and securing lender pre-approval, buyers can improve their chances of securing their dream home.

In this dynamic housing market, creativity, preparedness, and strategic thinking can make all the difference. And remember, it’s always a good time to buy or sell a house!

Gary Wisenbaker is a REALTOR® with Century21 Realty in Valdosta and can be reached at (912-713-2553) or [email protected].

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