5 Practical Tips for Buyers for
the Spring Real Estate Season:
1. What do you want in a
house or condo?How do you envision the next
chapter of your life?
Write it out - all the things
you need and want in your new home. (White board it - while being practical).
Factors to consider:
Location / Neighborhood
Parking /Laundry requirements
Schools districts…be as
specific as possible.
Note: where you start your
search and where you end up may be very different places, so be it…
2 . Viewing Homes Online
vs. In Person
See homes in person - this
way, you can get a feel for the house, it’s precise location, the neighborhood,
the neighbors, what’s going on nearby. Pictures of homes online can be deceptive,
and it can become a time wasting game to swipe through them daily…You won’t see the
homeless encampment, the electrical wires near the bedroom windows or realize that
you can hear the highway a few blocks away until you see a place in person. Go to Open Houses, and as your focus in and
get more serious about making an offer, set up private appointments through your Buyer’s agent.
3. Have a conversation
with a Bank Lender or Mortgage Broker
Lenders are competing for
your business, and it’s helpful to consult with a few to see who gains your
trust, confidence, can get you the best rate and actually close on your loan. They
can also present you with different types of Mortgages: a 30 year Fixed, ARM,
interest only loan - there are many options. The process is straight forward: have
a conversation with a lender, send over some financials – pay stubs, tax
return, asset statements (savings, investment account etc.), as well as current
debt statements. The lender will review and generate a preapproval letter for a certain loan amount. This will demystify your target purchase price
and what your monthly payments will be. Anytime a Buyer tells me they are looking
for a house between 2 – 3 million, I know they haven’t taken this step, because
that’s too big a price range to consider and the payments will vary by 50%!
4. Have a conversation with
There are real tax deductions to homeownership – property
tax, interest on the first $750,000 of your loan, these are real savings that
will factor into the decision to own rather than to rent. Have your accountant
do a rent vs own scenario, comparing the carry costs of each – if you end up
paying a little more each month with home ownership, remember you are building
equity by putting that extra amount into your home – a sort of forced savings
5. Work with an Local Agent
When you go to an Open House,
the Listing Agent or host is not necessarily your friend. They have a contract
with the owner to sell the property at the highest price. You need someone on
your side, advocating for you, to get you the most amount of house for the
least amount of money. A local, experienced agent, who knows the neighborhood,
inventory, and trends is crucial. Your buyer’s agent will add value to the
buying process in many ways: negotiate the price, get your offer accepted over
other offers, refer, organize and schedule inspections, provide you with a list
of contractors for all types of jobs, home insurance and home warranties your new place will require down the road.
Your Buyer’s agent is your real estate consultant for life, providing you with real time
information every step of the way during the course of your ownership - a real
resource to draw on.
Outlook for the coming season:
The Market is much more Buyer
friendly now than in recent years – we have approached and probably passed what I would term as "the bottom." There has been real uncertainty in the economy from
inflation, mortgage interest rates, recent bank failures, as well as the debt
ceiling deadline on/around June 1. Add to that, the market has just been through a 12-month
correction. Now it appears prices are stabilizing & buyers are coming to terms with a 6% interest rates on a loan. It remains to be seen if prices will rebound to previous levels and how long that might take or if real estate valuations will revert to the typical 5-ish% price appreciation per year going forward. No matter, this should be an interesting season for those opportunistic people looking to
buy a home.
Reach out to me anytime to
discuss. I'm local, experienced and I enthusiastically work this market very well.