The national news is full of all the foreclosure and short sale news, so buyers are starting to feel pretty good about themselves…as well they should with a few important caveats…
Prepare Financially. Any buyer must take care of the preliminaries before even looking at his or her first open house. More homes are on the market today, at better prices than in years, but the easy credit of yesteryear is gone, probably for good. Today’s home buyer needs to be pre-qualifed by a reputable lender. This is a process that takes just a few minutes over the phone, answering a few questions and doing a credit check. Relax. It’s much easier than a trip to the destist. The lender does all the work. Find out what programs might fit your situation. Plenty of good loans are still out there. Figure out what your price range really is before you go shopping.
Make the Decision. You may be financially prepared, but is this the right time to buy for you? Make sure you are not too stretched financially because the foreclosure you saw last weekend is such a “great deal”. If it’s too rich for you, you may find yourself in foreclosure a few years hence. Plus, foreclosures in highly desirable areas usually attract plenty of attention and multiple offers, so many sell for well over list price. Are you ready for that?
Buy at the Right Time. When is the right time? Really, that’s up to you. The best time to buy is when you want to. Kids out of school? Job transfer? New baby? Downsizing? Inheritance? Any of these events might kick you into gear, but if you’re waiting for the market to go down more, you may be waiting in vain. Timing the market, as discussed in an earlier post, is a fool’s game.Buy when you are ready.
Do Your Homework. National news reports make it seem homes are available for pennies…Maybe so, nationally, somewhere, but here in California, despite the downturn and despite the slide in value, homes are still plenty pricey. So, find out what homes are selling for in the neighborhood where you want to live. Check with a reliable real estate broker for prices or look at homes for sale on Realtor.com where you can search all Realtor-listed property all over the country and in your own neighborhood.
Ready, Set, Go.Now, financially prepared, credit report and pre-qual in hand, you can venture forth into this wonderful Buyers’ Market. Having done your homework, you are set and need only secure the assistance of an able and reliable Realtor, such as yours truly, to help you get through the thickets of listings out there to your bargain dream home.