With low interest rates and a lot of inventory to choose from, it’s definitely a buyer’s market out there. But before buyers can get to the closing table, there are many factors to consider and questions to ask.
Our colleague Colleen Fischesser has eight key tips for buyers who are in the market for a new home. In a recent ActiveRain blog post, Fischesser, a Hall of Fame and 100 Percent Club member with RE/MAX Select Real Estate in Maple Valley, Wash., says there’s a “plethora of opportunity” in her market.
Here’s an edited excerpt of her ideas:
1. Be conservative about how much you can afford. Having a clear picture of the cost of ownership will go a long way to alleviate your stress after closing and ensure that you don’t feel “house poor.”
2. Clarify your motivation. Knowing your true motivation can also help you make a decision when you’re torn between one or more properties.
3. Determine if an HOA is important. Make an informed buying decision and know how you want to live after closing.
4. Check your credit rating. Would you qualify for a different program or a better interest rate if your credit score was higher? If so, should you wait and work on raising that score before making a purchase decision? A reputable, successful loan officer will be able to explain your options based on your personal situation.
5. Learn whether sellers are negotiating within your range. Negotiating with a seller from a point of knowledge and a non-emotional perspective will go far to create a win-win situation.
6. Identify the competition. Depending on your price range, the uniqueness of the property you’re looking for and the absorption rates for those listings, you may face some serious competition for the seller’s attention.
7. Talk to the neighbors of any homes you’re serious about. Home inspections don’t catch everything, and banks are usually clueless about prior problems. Neighbors are usually more than happy to help.
8. Work with a super fun, experienced agent!
© 2011 RE/MAX, LLC.