With so many wanting to live here, buyers need to know the 5 secrets to buying a home to secure their dream home — especially in in Los Altos Hills, Silicon Valley and the broader San Francisco Peninsula.

The San Francisco Bay Area is full of natural beauty with perfect year-round weather. We’ve got easy access to the Pacific Ocean, hikes in the redwoods and Sierra weekend getaways. Area towns like Redwood City boast top-performing schools, a variety of tasty restaurants and fun activities for date night and for families.

Sounds like the perfect place to put down roots right? Trouble is everyone has the same idea and that’s making the San Francisco Bay Area a tough place to buy a home. We’re a real estate team, Shab Nemati , Realtor and Jeff Phillips, Mortgage Professional, who understand how to purchase in a hot housing market. Here are our tips to help you on your way to buying a home in the San Francisco Bay Area. Checkout below 5 Secrets to Buying a Home in the San Francisco Bay Area.

Be Prepared to Go Over Asking Price

Single-family homes in San Mateo County are selling for 109% of list price. Meaning sellers are getting asking price plus roughly 10% more. We know this sounds scary. You might think you’ll never be able to outbid anyone.

But all you need to do is work the 10% extra into your search calculation when going out to look at homes. If your maximum budget is 1 million dollars, then look at homes that are 100K less. This way you’ll have room in the budget to bid against your competition.

Widen Your Search With Off-Market Listings

Did you know not all homes for sale are listed on the MLS? Some real estate agents have exclusive access to listings not broadcast to the public. Align yourself with one of these agents, like us, and we’ll get you in to see homes that few people know about. Less stress from competition is a good thing when you’re trying to buy a home.

Pounce on Weekday Viewing Opportunities

Hey, those off-market listings might not stay under the radar for long. If you want access to the best deals then you’ll need to be agile and view inventory the moment it becomes available.

With homes in San Mateo County selling in as little as 8 to 12 days, you need to be the first in. Be ready to drop what you’re doing at any time during the week convenient or not. Remember home buying isn’t just for the weekends.

Keep Your Expectations Realistic

Share your criteria for a new home with your realtor. Desired location, proximity to certain areas of town and lot size are all important permanent factors to consider when buying a home.

Some features like an extra bathroom, swimming pool, or wrap-around deck, might have to be nixed off your list in a housing market as tight as the Bay Area’s. Keep an open mind when shopping for a home. Snap up the home now and add on when it’s yours!

Get Your Mortgage Loan Pre-Underwritten

Going through the underwriting process for a mortgage loan early in the home buying process is a win-win for buyer and seller. You’ll already know that your loan will be approved when you make an offer. The seller will see fewer contingencies attached to your offer making it more attractive.

Being pre-qualified or pre-approved for a loan are positive indicators but they aren’t as strong as being pre-underwritten. Not every mortgage professional can perform this specialized service but Jeff Phillips is able to get you pre-underwritten. This requires more time than a pre-approval, so, please make sure to call him early in the process.

Home Buyer Workshop

Look for our Home Buyer Workshop to be announced at the end of April. We’ll answer your questions and share our strategies on how to be competitive in the San Francisco Bay Area housing market.