The old adage, buying a home isn’t for the faint of heart, still holds true. No matter how much you prepare, make your lists, and visit neighborhoods, you still need to wait for the right home to come on the market. Even then, it may not become yours.
The inventory of homes for sale remains low with the number of potential Buyers high. That doesn’t mean you won’t find a house. Most importantly, you need to be prepared to make a strong offer when you do find the home for you and your family. Many sellers won’t even entertain an offer without a pre-approval letter, so meet with a local lender and have your letter in hand. It makes for a much stronger offer.
Be flexible. Flexibility also makes for a stronger offer. Asking the Seller when the best time for them to close and move might make your offer more attractive to them. Also, if you are looking for the typical 3 bedroom 2 bath home in a highly sought after neighborhood, change your search a bit. You might want to open yourself up to a home that needs a bit of renovation or is in a neighborhood that is up and coming. Expanding your horizons opens up new opportunities.
Lastly, be patient. Keep at it. It takes time to find your perfect home so don’t get discouraged. If you lose out on a home or two, it wasn’t meant to be. Speaking from personal experience, usually you end up with a better home than the ones you lost bids on. Be patient. It will happen!
My Lease is up…, When should I start looking for a house? We get this question all the time. Buying a house isn’t like going to the store a to buy a new shirt. It takes time and planning. And not all of it is in your control.
If you know your credit score and it is at least over 580 your home buying activities should start 3-4 months before your lease terminates. If you have a less than stellar credit score or are unsure of it, start sooner. Your first step is to visit a reputable mortgage lender or broker. Stay away from the online only companies. Let the lender pull your credit score. They actually receive more in-depth information than we do with FreeCreditReport.com. If your credit score falls into the lower than necessary range, a good lender will work with you to take steps to raise it. A lower credit score will cost you more in interest rates, pre-paids, home insurance, and car insurance. A little hint, if you do not have much credit, open up a credit card. You don’t have to use it much. Just make sure it is paid off and by all means, DO NOT CLOSE ANY CREDIT ACCOUNTS! It will lower your score.
Assuming you have a decent credit score, get a pre- approval letter from a bank or mortgage lender. Now your search begins. Given the low inventory of homes on the market in our area, your search could take more than a month or two. Once you find the home that fits your needs, you still need 45-60 days until move in.
The offer needs to be accepted and that can go back and forth a few times. Then as a Buyer, you arrange a home inspection within 14 – 21 days. Depending on the results, that may take a bit of time to come to terms with the Seller. Your lender will be working on the load approval and order an appraisal. The appraisal could take 40-45 days depending on how busy the market is at the time of your offer. Once the appraisal comes in, hopefully at the purchase price, the loan will need another week or so to be finalized. Then the closing may be scheduled.
As a renter, you may have some leeway as to your moving date as when the loan closes you don’t pay the first month’s mortgage. But all of that depends on your lease agreement. Remember to give your landlord enough notice of your moving out.
Bottom line, the home buying process takes 45-60 days and that depends on how quickly you can find a home.
Most people don’t want to move in the winter and wait until spring, usually in April, to put their house on the market. Contrary to belief, it is better to list your home late in the year or early in January.
Instead of waiting until spring, there are four reasons you should consider selling your home this winter.
1. Less competition. The old story of supply and demand applies here. With everyone else, especially those with children in school, waiting to list their home in the spring you’ll have less competition.
2. Less competition means that you can demand a higher selling price. There will be fewer homes to compare to yours and with a limited supply, you become a winner.
3. Interest rates are still low and the prediction is that they will rise at least 3 times in 2018. Low interest rates means people can afford more house and aren’t hesitant to purchase one.
4. You’ll have more serious Buyers and often receive a better price. People sometimes just have to move. They get transferred, take a new job, outgrow their apartment, or their lease expires. What ever the reason, winter time Buyers are more serious Buyers. I personally moved three times at the end of December. And it wasn’t really all that hard selling or moving. Plus, all my Buyers were anxious to make memories in their new home and show it off to family and friends over the holidays.
Contact me and we can discuss a marketing plan to sell your home.