Published on August 27, 2020

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Photography by DP Productions/Getty Images

Raise your hand if you’re not a competitive person. Sure, you might get overly excited about a game of Jenga every once in a while, but where do you stand when it comes to battling for your dream home? In some cities, buyers have had to learn to be cutthroat. In other parts of the country, however, the process is a lot more low-key.

According to a new LendingTree report that looked at the 50 biggest metro areas in the U.S., from January to July 2020, Memphis, Virginia Beach, and Oklahoma City have the least aggressive buyers (people in these areas tend to have lower credit scores and are less likely to shop around for a mortgage before choosing a house, which are two criteria that affect your ability to get a loan). So if you don’t want to get stuck in a bidding war or are in a rush and don’t have the time to get your finances in a row, you’ll have better luck here. On the flip side, San Jose, California; Raleigh, North Carolina; and Pittsburgh (the top three cutthroat markets) will put your preparedness to the test. Fortunately, everyone—no matter where you live—can learn to get ahead of the game with these tips.

Offer a Bigger Down Payment

This is one thing the most competitive home buyers all have in common, according to LendingTree: They’re ready and willing to offer more up front in order to get what they want.

Shop for a Flexible Loan

Some loans, like FHA and VA options, are less appealing to sellers because they will not be approved until things like chipped or peeling paint are fixed. Rather than put that hassle on the seller, opt for a conventional loan (a mortgage that’s not backed by a government agency) that eliminates these types of barriers, suggests Bankrate

Get to Know the Neighbors

Take it from one first-time home buyer who scored their dream house even though they didn’t have the highest bid: Scout out the neighborhood and talk to people. If you seem like a pleasant person to live next to, they might write a letter on your behalf to the sellers. A good word goes far. 

Introducing Domino’s new podcast, Design Timewhere we explore spaces with meaning. Each week, join editor-in-chief Jessica Romm Perez along with talented creatives and designers from our community to explore how to create a home that tells your story. Listen now and subscribe for new episodes every Thursday.

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