Real estate has been a hot topic here lately in the news – and its positive! Nationally, sales were up for the month of February. Ms. Lisa Floyd of Carolina Farm Credit was kind enough to send an article from USA Today that sums up what we as Realtors and mortgage lenders are seeing. Home mortgage rates have dropped to less than 5% and have spurred a race to buy a new home and to refinance current ones. Coupled with rock bottom low prices on homes, buyers are in search of great deals and good rates – and you’ll find them.
With that said – there are some things you really need to consider when you’re looking for a new home today.
- Consider ALL the purchase options:
- Foreclosures: if you’re a buyer, this is really becoming a hot topic. There are some great values on bank owned properties and then there are some rip-offs no matter what the price is. Don’t get caught up in the “allure” of buying a foreclosure. It doesn’t make you a “sophisticated” buyer or make you look like you’re on the cutting edge with your friends. There are many times as good or better buys that the bank doesn’t own. Look at ALL your options because many times there are better choices. (You can learn more about foreclosure buying and tips on our website www.iLoveMurphy.com . Search “foreclosure”)
- Short Sales: This is another hot topic that not everyone knows about. This is where the current owner is selling their property for less than what they owe on it. The bank either forgives the difference or agrees to do a personal loan to the owner for the difference (in which the owner still has to pay back the lost money over time). I’ve seen several cases where there’s a better buy on short sales than foreclosures, so this is a good consideration. In this case, you MUST have patience because it will be very drawn out.
- Sellers: this is the tried and true way and doesn’t have the fancy new lingo attached to it or make you sound sophisticated, and many times this is still the best way. Many homes have been owned for 10+ years and they can afford to sell it at a great value. Other sellers MUST move and are willing to take a hit to get on with their lives. There are thousands of other possibilities here and you should certainly not rule this out just because it’s not the “cool, new thing.”
- Here’s what you must have when you buy a new property:
- Patience: If you’re dealing with foreclosures and short sales, you better have patience and the ability to wait. If you need to move in to a house yesterday, you had better look at some other alternatives. Odds are there will be delays coupled with large amounts of waiting to find out about offers and more.
- Patience: Nope – I didn’t stutter here. This is more important than anything. Sometimes you won’t find what you’re looking for right away. You’ll have to be willing to tell your Realtor to look ACTIVELY for you and be able to act fast when the right thing comes along. Although there are a lot of homes on the market currently, some styles/categories/types of homes in certain price ranges are very picked over. As such, you need to have the ability to wait and look for the right thing.
- Money in Hand: There’s no need to walk in with a suit case of money (although you’ll be able to negotiate a bit harder for a better buy if you do!). You do need to be prequalified with a reputable mortgage lender and have verifiable funds to pay your down payment. This is very important because sellers (or banks which won’t even look at your offer unless you complete this step) will take you far more seriously and give you a better value.
- Don’t Fall in Love: When you’re negotiating for practically anything, you have to be able to have “walk away power.” You’ll get a better deal if you have the ability to walk away from the table and move on to the next thing. If you fall in love, you loose that ability. Don’t get me wrong, there’s absolutely NOTHING wrong with buying a property you absolutely love. It may cost you a little bit more, and that’s okay. It’s probably worth it.
- Representation: With all the new topics, concerns, and issues that face you in your real estate purchase, it’s not wise to try and tackle it on your own. Real estate is one of the largest investments you make, and you should have a Realtor and/or an attorney who specializes in real estate working for you. As Warren Buffett said, “Risk comes from not knowing what you’re doing.” Make sure you’re comfortable with and trust your agent and/or attorney. They should also have the heart of a teacher. They need to be able to break everything down for you so that you can easily understand it and the choices you have.
Real estate is an excellent investment strategy when it’s done correctly. We’re finding buyers that are ready to buy now because they know that the market is dragging bottom! You can look free of charge with no obligation to see what properties are available on our website at www.MyMurphy.com. Contact us or your agent to find some great opportunities that aren’t online because they’re out there!
If you’re selling your property now or considering it, yes – the value of your property is down from the peak of the market. The good thing is you can take this information and utilize it once your property is sold and you’re buying another. You WILL get a better buy now than what you would have, even if you got more money for it before. Truthfully, it’s likely a zero sum game and the numbers are just different. Talk to your current agent or call us and we will help you any way we can. We’re here for you!