Buyers, now’s the time to update your buying strategies

Anyone who is buying – or just checking out – a house in our unique Northeast PA market is likely to find that some of the rules of the “buyers market” game seem to have shifted.

As the latest housing statistics continue to paint an upbeat picture, at least when it comes to bargain-priced properties, the days of multiple bids and ‘offers over asking’ are showing some new appearance. And, if you are – rightfully – considering buying a house in our area before interest rates and prices rise in earnest, it would be useful to take a look at some strategies that work — and some that virtually never do:

1)                  Blanket low-balling – Running around writing up a bunch of low-ball offers is a surefire way to get yourself ignored, or worse, miss out on an otherwise great property. A better approach?  Work with a knowledgeable agent whose expertise in area neighborhoods will allow you to check on the most recent comps, then write a serious offer.

2)                  Dismissing Imperfect Properties – The degree of your success in buying a house in town can depend on starting out with a reality check: only very rarely is a property totally perfect for you and priced absolutely right.

3)                  Highest and Best – Unfortunately, the tempting low prices listed for some local bank-owned homes also means that it’s increasingly common to encounter the dreaded “multiple offer situation.”  If you find yourself there, be prepared to submit your highest and best offer first — you may not have another shot.

This changing market doesn’t mean we are headed into the kind of fever-induced ‘bubble’ we saw in the mid- 2000’s.  But for those seeking a deal and waiting for the bottom of the market before buying a house in town, the market does not seem to be waiting. 2013 is clearly the time to jump in!

 

Let’s consider the pros & cons with listing your home during the winter months

Winter morning

Selling your home in Winter

If you are an Northeast PA homeowner struggling with the decision about whether listing your home for sale during the winter months is good or bad, there are arguments for either choice.
Let’s start with the “pros”:
One of the best things I like about listing your home for sale in the winter months is that the holidays work to your advantage. Nothing says “home” better than a house that is well (and tastefully!) decorated for the holidays. By making sure the decorations accent the house rather than overpower it, you still funnel attention where it belongs: on your house!
Another plus that comes with listing your home in town during the winter months is the logistical reasons that keep the proportion of non-serious “shoppers” from occupying your time. I find that the majority of those who are looking for homes during the winter months are disproportionally intent on actually buying a home.
On the other hand, some of those same logistical forces serve as counterarguments against listing your home during the winter. They are the same reasons many real estate agents tell their clients to wait until the spring to list. It’s true that there are fewer daylight hours for home viewings…not to mention spates of bad weather, and the greater chance that holiday travel will interfere with both buyer and seller schedules.
All in all, I think the arguments cancel each other out: I don’t advise you to allow the time of year to prevent you from listing your home in any season. If you are otherwise ready to sell your home this month or next, I say — make the most of the season! Who knows – it has happened more than once that the right buyer is out there right now. I have marketing plans for area homes that work every month of the year — if you are ready to sell, I’d be delighted to help you launch your sale this holiday season!

Lot 43 Highridge Road Equinunk PA – The Woods @Duck Harbor

 

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Lauren Bianco
Weichert Realtors/Paupack Group
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43 Highridge Road
Equinunk, PA
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5+ ACRE BEST BUY IN THE NEIGHBORHOOD

$ Click for current price

Beautiful 5+ acre lot ready to build on in The Woods @ Duck Harbor, Equinunk, PA 5.31 acre lot in the highly desirable and gated community of The Woods at Duck Harbor, with easy access to Duck Harbor Pond, a 205-acre lake allowing motorboats and jet-skis and backs state lands.

Build your beautiful country home on this expansive parcel with lovely views.

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What’s the 5-Year Rule in home searching?

It seems that, in the world of Northeast PA real estate, the tides could once again be turning around from renting a home to home ownership. And, I think we can probably thank lower home prices and mortgage rates that are at an all time low for the shift.

And, if you’re considering searching for your next Northeast PA home and are doing your own “what’s my monthly rent vs. a mortgage payment minus the tax savings gonna be” calculation, many financial advisors recommend that you consider this rule of thumb as well…. you should plan to stay in your new home for at least five years.

 While these transaction costs are only one consideration that makes this a good idea, here are some of the others reasons why it’s prudent to think about the 5-year planning horizon as you conduct your home search:

I’d like a little financial security!. Every homeowner knows they need to have some extra funds set aside for an emergency just in case there is some unforeseen loss of income. Affording a home and its maintenance costs should never jeopardize the financial health of your household.  Liz Weston of MSN.com recently asked several experts for their calculations regarding home repairs. Their answer? Plan to spend at least an additional 1% of a homes’ value on maintenance each year.

What about the resale value? – There’s still a significant amount of “distressed homes” and the trend  will likely continue to exert at least some pressure on home values for the near future. If you need to sell your home two or three years down the road, you may come up short when all the moving, transaction, and other expenses are considered and it may be at least that long before the familiar growth in residential real estate value resumes.

How about my own sanity! – Studies have shown that moving is one of the top stresses in life (up there with death, divorce and illness). Personally, I think a well-planned move is a little less dire, but it is true that a happy homeowner is a settled homeowner.  When you’re starting your home search, consider the changes coming to your family in the coming years: New baby?  Child to college?  If you know a move is eminent in the near future, consider finding a home with long-term rental value.  Buy a home that can grow with you and you’ll find yourself much more financially secure…and sane!

The current low prices and 30-year fixed mortgage interest rates aren’t likely to last forever, and that old adage remains true: buy low, sell high.  If you’re looking for a reason to start your home search in the area now, call me for a serious look at this June’s market.