5 Spring Home Buying Strategies | Realtor Magazine
Step Away from the Computer
Despite the fact that 90 percent of home buyers start their search online, buyers should also consider getting outside and canvassing their desired neighborhoods. In a low inventory market, it’s important to to be proactive and not waste time weighing options, because by that time, the property might be off the market. “In our market we hope for a burst of new inventory in the spring, but that doesn’t always happen,” cautions Richard Seaton, vice president at TTR Sotheby’s International Realty in the Washington, D.C., area. “Even if that burst comes, demand will outstrip supply, so buyers have to be in a position to make a decision quickly.”
Get to Know the Current Housing Market
Every housing market is different, so it’s important to do research on the market and neighborhood trends. Finding a good real estate agent and keeping up with local real estate news is crucial for buyers to understand the nuances of their local housing market. “Buyers need to get up to speed quickly on market values so they know the right decision when it presents itself,” says Yocum. “The more quickly buyers can educate themselves, the more successful the home search will be.”
Grab Those Low Mortgage Rates—Before it’s too Late!
While mortgage rates continue to hover below four percent, buyers might not be able to enjoy these low rates forever. “With all indications pointing to a rate increase from the Federal Reserve this year – perhaps as early as this summer – affordability concerns could heighten as home prices and rents both continue to exceed wages,” says NAR chief economist Lawrence Yun.
Create a Dynamic Team
The fast pace of the most competitive housing markets means buyers have to be in a position to make an offer at a moment’s notice. Before making an offer, buyers need to ensure they’ve lined up a real estate professional, a lender, a lawyer, and a home inspector. They will also want to be pre-approved for a loan and ready to complete a mortgage application as soon as they find a property.
Be Prepared for Bidding Wars
Buyers should be strategic when maneuvering a bidding war. Some agents suggest that buyer clients include an escalation clause, while others suggest they examine the deal and identify areas where they could be more flexible, in terms of contingency clauses. However, Yocum warns that “all of these [contingency clauses] have various levels of risk that not all buyers are willing to accept, and you should consult with your team before [removing] any of them.”
Source: “Spring 2015 Home-Buying Guide: 5 Insider Tips From Real Estate Pros Across the Country,” Learnvest (March 9, 2015)