Take Your Time … to a Degree Although each local market is unique, the National Association of Realtors reports that the national home inventory is at 7.3 months. The increased supply of homes on the market gives home buyers a great opportunity to evaluate a variety of properties. However, this does not mean that home buyers should procrastinate. Gauge the time you may have to choose a home by asking your sales associate how long properly priced homes are staying on the market before going into the contract stage. You may find the change in days on the market from last year is just a few days longer.
Realize You Are Competing With Others Don't think you are the only one looking for a new home. Properly priced homes are selling. The National Association of Realtors predicts there will be more than 6 million home sales in 2007, expected to be the fourth or fifth best year in history. The majority of people move based on lifestyle changes, such as new job/promotion, marriage, divorce or family expansion, and buyers are out there.
Understand Your Loan Products The current 30-year fixed mortgage rate of 5.76 percent according to bankrate.com remains near historic lows. Remember that the recent subprime controversy you are reading about only involves only a small percentage of home buyers or potential home buyers. Make certain your mortgage provider is reputable and that you understand the implications, especially the worst case scenarios, of your loan. If you don't understand ask. And certainly do not sign anything without understanding it.
Negotiate on the Incentives Sellers eager to move their homes may offer you a variety of incentives such as cars, trips, clearing credit card bills for you and other deal sweeteners. If you accept an incentive, make sure it makes sense for you. Instead of having your bills paid, you may opt to have the seller renovate the master bathroom or install new flooring. Of course, you can always ask the seller to just deduct that amount from the list price.
Relax Enjoy the American dream of home ownership. Freddie Mac has reported that the annual appreciation of homes in the United States over the last 40 years has been 6.4 percent annually. While "homes are our castles," we also benefit from this appreciation and enjoy the tax advantages home ownership affords.
Relax Some More Most will not sell their home for a loss unless there is sustained hardship like long-term illness, long-term job loss or death of a loved one that might require an immediate move. Those who bought over the last five to six years have enjoyed great appreciation. Those who may have bought over the last year might have seen their home value decrease but history has shown this to be a short-lived scenario.
Don't Use Your Home as an ATM Know the equity you have in your home and work with your financial planner and accountant to determine how to properly use such products as home equity loans to benefit your lifestyle.
Don't Renovate to Immediately Improve the Value of Your Home While bathrooms and kitchen renovations traditionally help the value of a home, doing such renovation for the sole reason of resale value is not wise. Instead, only do it if you will also benefit from the renovation in your daily life. If you are considering a move in a few years, consult with a full-service real estate professional to determine if such a renovation will substantially improve your resale value.