There is a lot of negative information in both the local and national press that seems to be keeping potential buyers in rentals in Northern Virginia. This market is also a golden opportunity for buyers who have been waiting for the “right time” to buy a home. We have seen prices in some Northern Virginia areas drop as much as 50% and now interest rates are have dropped as well. The time to get off the fence may have arrived.
Buying a home is NOT FOR EVERYONE and if you are looking a home purchase in today’s market as a short term buy then you probably shouldn’t buy now. If you are looking for an investment property this could be a great time as rentals are in demand and if you are looking to move up or downsize even though your current home is worth less the price of the new home you want to buy is most likely lower at an equal amount.
With those thoughts in mind here are some tips on taking advantage of today’s market:
If you need to sell another home before you can buy then get in on the market. Don’t wait for the mythical spring market to list your home. Talk to an agent now about the value of your home and what you need to do to get it ready for the market.
If you are going to require financing for your new home then talk to a lender now. Loans requirements are changing daily. Knowing the type of loan you are qualified for, getting the documents you need in order and being comfortable with the bottom line should be a top priority.
If you have CASH use it. Right now cash deals are at the top of the heap and can often garner the best deals. That does not mean you should liquidate your assets. However if you have a property to sell and you are downsizing you might be able to make a cash offer to another seller or a builder that will garner you an even better deal that the advertised price.
Be able to close quickly. This goes hand and hand with the first three tips. If your home is solidly under contract or if you have your loan ready to go, a quick close will appeal to just about everyone.
If you are a first time buyer, hire an agent to work for you. You can spend all the time you want cruising the internet for your new home but a good buyers agent can also help you find the a reputable local lender to work with, help narrow your search criteria and protect your interests when you are ready to write an offer. It can’t be said enough times that the listing agent works for the seller and not you.
Consider foreclosures. Not all foreclosures are money pits or trash pits. In fact in our area with the amount of new construction that happened over the last few years you can find condos, townhouses and detached homes that are almost as good as new.
Ask for the property history. Your agent should be able to provide you not only a comparative market analysis for the neighborhood but show you the listing and sales history for the home you are considering. Knowing whether the home is currently overpriced and how long it has been on the market are key components of making the right offer. Low ball offers are not the way to buy a home in this market. Despite what a friend might tell you trust your Realtors advise Don’t waster your time offering pennies on the dollar.
Understand that the market may still decline in some neighborhoods. But also remember if interest rates rise then the higher rate you pay for a loan will wipe out the difference in a small price decrease.
And finally remember that the long term value in our area . We have historically recovered from economic downturns in our real estate market. Our area offers good employment, education and quality of life opportunities not found in all areas of the US.
If you are exploring a new home purchase in the next 6 months give me a call. We can meet over a cup of coffee and talk about whether buying a home is the right decision for you.