When the crash of 2008 occurred, inventory levels spiked to well over a year, if not more in some markets. Inventory now is at historical lows. Inventory is a measurement of how many months worth homes would be available, if no new homes came to market, based on the rate that they are being sold. Most experts consider it to be a balanced market when there is roughly 6 to 8 months of inventory. Most markets have three months or less right now — making it a strong seller’s market.
On the whole, no. The interest rate you receive for your loan is largely set by Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac or FHA. So the rates that Quicken, or USAA, or other online lender are quoting are not any different that then rates a local mortgage originator would quote. What they are in fact doing is more of a shell game where they may quote a rate that requires an impossibly high credit score, a shorter term and/or an a lock period that no transaction could ever meet. It is classic bait and switch.
Each situation varies, but the key to think about is this: When the market is moving as fast as this one is, saving an extra $5,000 to pay $10,000 for the home doesn’t feel like a great idea to me. The key is to look at your individual situation as well as the appreciation rates in your specific market to decide if waiting or acting is the better decision.
Not sure where to start? Reach out and we can help.
Now. You can’t do too much homework.
But that said, if you are looking to purchase in the spring and you are following pricing in the fall, you are going to see a rapid shift in where homes are priced. The spring market means somewhere around 2 to 3 times the number of buyers so pricing jumps. If you base your offers on last fall’s comparable sales, you are going to get outbid on the most attractive houses that come to market. Expect anywhere from a 5 to 10% jump in pricing from November to March.
The benefits of a buyer’s agent are many, the most important of which is representation. We use this analogy often: would you want to use your spouse’s divorce attorney if you were getting a divorce? Of course not. Using the listing agent to represent you on a house is a poor choice as they have the seller’s best interests in mind.
The benefits of a buyer’s agent are many, the most important of which is representation. We use this analogy often: would you want to use your spouse’s divorce attorney if you were getting a divorce? Of course not. Using the listing agent to represent you on a house is a poor choice as they have the seller’s best interests in mind.In my opinion, the key is not just having a buyer’s agent, but the correct one. Your buyer\u2019s agent should strive to understand your wishes, match your style and communicate in the way you want to be communicated with. You will be spending a great deal of time with this person so make sure you mesh well at all levels.
The key is not just having a buyer’s agent, but the correct one. Your buyer’s agent should strive to understand your wishes, match your style and communicate in the way you want to be communicated with. You will be spending a great deal of time with this person so make sure you mesh well at all levels.
For more on hiring a buyer’s agent, click here.
Nope, Zillow is not MLS.
Zillow receives its information from a variety of sources, but it is not the same as MLS. Many differences exist but the major ones revolve around accuracy and timing. There is no guarantee that what you see on Zillow is either a complete list or one whose availability is accurate. Furthermore, the timing between when a home is listed for sale in MLS and when it might appear on Zillow is Nope, Zillow is not MLS.
Serious buyers use MLS for their search. Click to learn more.
Sorry, but no. The Multiple Listing Service (MLS) is a paid and closed database and can only be accessed by Realtors, appraisers or other service providers who are members of the MLS. And as a member of the MLS, there are about 40 pages of rules that we have to follow.
That said, an agent can offer you what is called a Portal to MLS, which is a pretty awesome service that allows you to see into the MLS according to a set of parameters that you, as a buyer or seller, can request from your agent. A Portal allows you to see listings as they come onto the market, price and status changes, as well as save favorites and communicate with your agent. And we would LOVE to set up one for you.
The biggest issue is that since the market crash of 2008, very few new condos have been built and as demand has increased, there are no longer enough supply to go around. This lack of inventory is not just limited to the condo market. The housing market, especially at affordable prices, is extremely undersupplied as well. The only cure is to be ready to pounce when you see something you like and make your offer easy to accept. We have also had a great deal of luck approaching past clients directly who own condos. We have been able to secure deals that never hit the market using this approach. Using a buyers agent really gives you an edge in this scenario.
The appraisal process is based on looking backwards and in hot markets, it is hard to find comparable sales. We wish there was a better answer. As a seller, one of the keys is to make sure the purchaser is less sensitive to a missed appraisal. If a Buyer A is putting down 25% and Buyer B is putting down 5%, you might be wise to select Buyer A and try to get them to waive part, if not all, of any appraisal contingency. Similarly, as a buyer, don’t get in bidding wars if you are a Max FHA buyer. You will cost yourself inspection and appraisal fees, as well as time, and likely miss out on other opportunities. The lack of inventory is driving pricing up but unfortunately, sometimes the rising prices outpace the appraiser’s ability to find the supporting sales. With anything, preparation is key. Knowing when an appraisal is likely to come in low allows you to put contingency plans in place to handle it if/when it happens.
Want more info? We wrote about determining a value for your home, here.
Yes. The ‘new’ part of a new home implies many warranties, both on equipment and workmanship, but it doesn’t guarantee that everything was built, connected or installed perfectly. And as builders continue to fight to keep costs down, the labor from which they draw is increasingly less skilled.
Most home inspectors will offer a bit of a modified version of a home inspection for new homes that is more akin to a punch list walk through on steroids where they spend less time inspections the mechanical condition, and focus more on the installation and aesthetics. It is a valuable exercise that we highly recommend.
There is not one answer, but here are some things to keep in mind.
When you get started, take a day and look at different type of homes. Look at some that are old and some that are newer — construction styles, layout preferences and materials change quickly and deciding on the era of construction you prefer is important.
It is also important to decide on how much land you want and in what environment. Urban neighborhoods tend to have the smallest lots, but are closer to amenities. The suburbs give you a little bit of land and newer schools, but tend to be more car dependent. Rural areas give you the most space, but are furthest from the shopping and work centers.
So how many homes you need to see before buying can vary based on what type of housing you want and how long it takes you to decide.
The answer is ‘yes-no-maybe-perhaps’.
There are numerous inputs to the price of housing and interest rates are only one of them. Supply and demand, the condition of the national, regional and local economy, job growth or loss, inventory, taxes, rent levels and of course, interest rates — they all go into the equation. But generally speaking, as rates rise and the cost of borrowing money increases, prices tend to either increase more slowly or even pull back.
But as 2004 to 2007 showed us, prices can rise even when rates are rising.
Not all homes need staging, per se, but almost every home could use a once over by a professional stager. Sometimes, a simple removal or rearranging of furniture can make a huge difference. Other times, augmenting an area with art or other accouterments can also make a have impact on the price a seller receives. Professional stagers are typically inexpensive, yet their advice can yield thousands of dollars in value. We have several we use and trust.
If you have the flexibility to buy whenever you want, we recommend waiting until the winter time as the number of buyers has dropped tremendously but the number of listings is still fairly high. But if you have a very specific set of wants and needs, then the spring is probably best as it tends to have the most choices. Think long and hard about your needs and let that drive the decision about ‘when?’