My Top Secrets for Buying a Home
Buying a home, especially if it’s your first time can be confusing. That’s why the tips and strategies you’ll find in this 8-week series will set you on the right path. It’s my own unique approach and a “behind the scenes” glimpse of what you should look out for and consider when starting your own search for a home.
Buying a home, especially if it’s your first time, can be complex and confusing at times. But, you are not alone!
Just like most homebuyers, you want to make sure you don’t make a bad decision. Or, you might realize that you don’t know what you don’t know!
I hear from clients about their concerns and questions when buying a home in today’s market. That’s why I’m here to provide answers to some of the most common questions so you can become better informed and more reassured.
No question is ever a “dumb question,” so if you have any questions that aren’t listed below here, reach out and ask!
Even though each buyer’s situation is unique, you’ll find the question/answer sections below helpful in giving you some insight on what steps might be best for you.
Q: How do I know the property value will increase?
Although there are no guarantees, there are clues and historical data that are indicative of future performance. We know the Santa Cruz County and Monterey Bay area has been changing and increasing in density and desirability. Whenever this is the case, you are likely to see an increase in value over time, perhaps more than other areas. We’ve had a huge spike, but indicators show that there is still room for future growth. It’s best not go on hearsay, but to look at projects that have gone through the planning, development, and funding stages. We have several projects in the works that will bring new jobs and increase the demand for housing to our area.
Being a reasonable commute distance to Silicon Valley is also a good indicator that your value will remain stable, and even increase over time.
However, you still need to buy smart. Each neighborhood, block and/or complex can be different and it’s important to understand those differences, so you don’t overpay. Don’t worry, I will be there to help you figure it out.
There is an old saying that says you make money in real estate when you buy, so focus on that and you should be fine when you sell.
Q: Should I put a deadline on an offer?
This is a tough question to answer and really depends on the specific situation of the home you are bidding on.
In this competitive market, most sellers want to give their home full market exposure to get the highest price possible. That means sellers tend to have their own deadline for any and all offers.
If a seller is not anticipating multiple offers or perhaps just wants a quick sale, moving quickly with an offer and having a short deadline for a response can be a winning strategy.
If you are going to put in a deadline, make sure to give one that allows for enough time for the seller to respond, but not long enough for another offer to swoop in, or for the seller’s agent to “shop” your offer.
Again, it depends on the situation, but I have found that 8-12 working hours (not sleeping hours) is enough time for a deadline. This could help avoid a bidding war.
But you’ll have to make it worth the seller’s while to want to take their home off the market so quickly. Typically, a higher price than asking and favorable terms such as no or short contingency periods will get your offer accepted.
In some situations, a deadline will not make the seller respond, so be prepared for that outcome as well!
Q: Is it worth it to find something faster when interest rates are low?
No! Don’t let interest rates dictate your time to buy a home. We are still in a period of historically low interest rates and they are not expected to spike any time soon.
A slight increase in your interest rate is not going to make the home you want unaffordable. And, just like buying and selling other investments, such as stock, trying to time the market is nearly impossible, and generally a bad idea.
Buy and sell when the time is right for YOU. We can talk about the typical cycles of the market, but always go based on your own timeline and schedule.
One thing I know for sure – there will always be homes to buy. And, when interest rates rise a LOT, that usually leads to a slight cooling of prices.
Q: How do I get a good deal?
Good question and one I focus on for each one of my clients! As I said before, you make money when you buy in real estate, so making sure you buy right is HUGE. But you must consider what’s “right” for you is different than someone else. Some buyers will pay more for certain features than others.
One way to make sure you are getting a good deal is to look at the specific neighborhood, complex, or block you are buying in and compare your home to what has sold over the last six months to a year.
There will be a range in prices depending on specific location and condition. We will compare the home you want to buy with what has sold recently to make sure you are not overpaying.
Also, it is important to assess whether it’s a sellers’ market or a buyers’ market and make your offer accordingly. The longer a home sits on the market, the more likely you can get a lower price.
And please keep in mind that just because something is “cheap” doesn’t mean it’s a good deal. Find out what is keeping other buyers from making offers on the property. There could be costly underlying circumstances that are not obvious and will cost you more in the end. Be sure not to make this crucial mistake!
Q: If the house I want is $20k over my price range, does that mean I can’t afford it?
Maybe, maybe not…
I like to tell my clients to focus on your monthly payments, not just on a purchase price. By doing this, you’ll know what you may or may not be comfortable paying for a home every month.
In other words, focus on the fact that you want to pay, say, $5,000 per month on your new home and NOT on a somewhat arbitrary price point.
Because for every $10,000 change in price, your monthly payment only goes up about $50 per month. When you look at it that way, you might be able to afford the home of your dreams or that home you just fell in love with.
So, that extra $20,000 price tag equates into an extra $100 per month. Is that something you can handle? If so and it’s a home that has everything you’d ever want, go for it…as long as it doesn’t break the bank or make you need to change your lifestyle in any way that is uncomfortable.
On the other hand, if you buy something not as nice for less money, you might have to spend money on repairs, etc. That’s money you might not have tucked away. You’ll need to weigh the pros and cons of each situation when determining what is affordable to you.
Have more questions? I’m sure you do! The sooner you start getting your questions answered, the sooner you will be prepared for that purchase! Let’s arrange some time to talk. Here’s a link to my calendar. Talk to you soon!
I believe that with Information, Preparation, and Strategy, you can achieve great success. Let me show you how!
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