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Greater Pittsburgh Area Real Estate Blog

How Buyers Can Compete in Pittsburgh’s Hot Summer Market

The weather is getting hotter, which means more homes are finally hitting the market here in Pittsburgh! Although the ongoing pandemic halted our busy spring selling season, we’ve seen more and more new listings throughout the summer, which is good news for anyone looking to make a move.

However, as home prices continue to rise and competition is tighter than ever before, you may be wondering how you can stand out as a buyer. That’s why we’ve compiled a list of quick tips to give you a leg up!

How to Stand Out as a Pittsburgh Home Buyer

In Pittsburgh, homes can receive multiple offers just hours after they’re listed. That means you have to be prepared to move fast and do everything in your power to catch a seller’s attention. If you’re feeling a little overwhelmed, here are a few steps you can take to become a qualified buyer.

Get preapproved for a loan

Using a tablet to get preapproved

Before you even start looking for homes, you’ll want to get preapproved for your mortgage. Being preapproved means that a lender has reviewed your finances and agreed to let you borrow a specific amount of money. The exact terms of your loan—like the length and interest rate—will be in your preapproval letter.

Sellers tend to prefer preapproved buyers because they have already been cleared by a lender. If a buyer isn’t preapproved, the deal could fall apart if they can’t secure the financing they need. You may also want to attach additional documents, like proof of income, to your offer for extra reassurance.

Put down an earnest money deposit

Hand with cash

When submitting an offer, most buyers put down an earnest money deposit to show that they’re serious about a home. Earnest money serves as a security deposit when a home is under contract, and it eventually goes towards your closing costs. If a buyer backs out, the seller gets to keep the earnest money.

In order to stand out from other buyers, you may want to attach a larger earnest money deposit. Typically, these deposits are around 1 to 3% of a home’s purchase price, but you could offer more if you’re dedicated to buying particular property.

Make a strong first offer

Real estate agent signing a contract

In a market as competitive as Pittsburgh’s, you won’t want to lowball the seller or try to get a deal if you’ve found the perfect home. In most cases, offers below the asking price may not be considered, so be prepared to offer your best price from the start.

If you find yourself in a multi-offer situation, be prepared to exceed the list price and make sure you know when to stop bidding. Setting a maximum price (and letting your agent know your limits) can help you stay on budget!

Write a letter to the seller


Many sellers don’t know anything about the people who are trying to buy their home, which can make the whole process feel a bit impersonal. That’s why many buyers attach a letter to their offer—it’s an easy way to introduce yourself and share what you love the most about their home.

As you write your letter, make sure to include some specifics about your situation and let them know why you think their home would be a great fit for you. You should also mention if you’re preapproved or flexible when it comes to contingencies or closing dates.

Ready to Make Your Move?

Buying a home in Pittsburgh is a huge decision, and we’d be happy to help you navigate every step of the process! Just get in touch with the Jim Dolanch Team if you’re ready to make your move—we have plenty of resources to guide you in the right direction.

Need to sell your home first? We’d be happy to help with that, too!

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