Spring and summer often mark the start of new North Shore beginnings. The latest housing reports reveal that distressed properties are being resolved at a timely pace, mortgage interest rates are historically low, and home prices are incredibly attractive. Currently I’ve noticed an increase in home buyers (first time and repeat) ready and anxious to purchase; with the idea of long term North Shore real estate investing as the driving force. With an increase in buyers comes moments of low inventory. Sometimes I have several buyers on hand and not enough North Shore properties on the market that peek their interest. Without a doubt, the time is NOW for buying or selling.
For buyers--to increase your chances of finding your dream home in a market that may be competitive, and to decrease the odds of you losing out to another buyer:
Get pre-qualified for a mortgage. You’ll be able to make a firm commitment to buy and your offer will be more desirable to the seller. Research top local lender options.
Stay in close contact with your North Shore realtor to find out about the newest listings in your target area. Be ready to see a house as soon as it goes on the market — if it’s a great home, it will go super fast.
Research new listings yourself. Look at web sites such as REALTOR.com, Trulia, or Zillow. Browse your local newspaper’s real estate section, and drive through the neighborhood to spot For Sale signs. If you see a home you like, write down the address and your North Shore realtor will schedule a showing.
Be confident and ready to make a decision. Spend a lot of time in advance deciding what are “must haves” or deal breakers, so you won’t be unsure when you have the chance to make an offer.
Offer competitively. You may not want to start out bidding the absolute highest price you can afford, but don’t go too low to get a deal. In a tight market, you could walk away with no deal.
Keep contingencies to a minimum. Conditions such as needing to sell your home before you move or wanting to delay the closing until a certain date can make your offer appealing. One option to consider or talk over with your lender is getting a bridge loan to cover both mortgages for a short period.
Don’t get overwhelmed by a buying frenzy. Just because there may be competition doesn’t mean you should just buy. And even though you could make your offer attractive, don’t overlook inspections or due diligence that help ensure that your dream house is sound.
For Sellers-- selling a home usually requires that you have several forms, reports, mortgage documents, policies, deeds, and settlement statements all in order. A knowledgeable and experienced North Shore real estate expert will help you prepare the best deal, and avoid delays or costly mistakes. Here are a few pre-selling tasks to consider:
Have a pre-sale home inspection. Be proactive by arranging for a pre-sale home inspection. An inspector will be able to give you a good indication of the trouble areas that could scream out to potential buyers, and you’ll be able to make repairs before open houses begin.
Organize, clean, garage sale? Reduce clutter and pack up your least-used items, such as large counter top appliances and other kitchen tools, out-of-season clothing, toys, and exercise equipment. Or plan to sell what you no longer need.
Pay attention to curb appeal. Pretend you’re a potential buyer and stand outside of your home. As you come to the front door, what is your first impression of the property? Do the lawn and bushes look neatly maintained? Is the walkway clearly visible? Are pretty flowers or plants framing the entrance? Is the perimeter free from cracks and impediments?
Get replacement estimates. Do you have big-ticket items that are worn out or will need to be replaced soon, such your roof or flooring? Get estimates on how much it would cost to replace them, even if you don’t plan to do it on your own. The figures will help buyers determine if they can afford the home, and will be handy when negotiations start.
Gather your warranties. Gather up the warranties, guarantees, and user manuals for the furnace, washer and dryer, dishwasher, and any other items that will remain with the house after it sells.
Your feedback is invaluable to me. Please let me know your thoughts on the current real estate market. I look forward to hearing from you.
You can also find more tips and North Shore real estate information at the following locations: