Buying a home is an exciting time! Having been in business long enough to go through multiple markets, I have experience that may help in this current seller's market we are experiencing.
Some initial thoughts. Make sure you stay on top of the market. As you begin your home search, be ready to go look as soon as homes come on the market. Currently, as soon as homes go on the market, they are getting contracts within a couple of days. The homes that we have listed recently have received multiple offers in the first full day it's listed. This also means you need to be ready to put in an offer. If you take too long to make up your mind, you may have to fight multiple offers or get left out altogether.
Have your pre-approval ready. Yep, I said pre-approval, not pre-qualification--there is a big difference. You should get the lender all your paperwork so they can pre-approve you for the purchase. The seller will most certainly use this information if they get into a multiple offer situation. They will also want you to give a full EMD (Ernest Money Deposit) to hold the contract. I would also consider writing a letter to the sellers about yourself, and why you should be considered, are moving to the area, etc. You should also add a note as to what things made you want write on seller's home.
Consider your contingencies carefully. Some of the common contingencies are mortgage approval, appraisal, home inspection, WDO (wood destroying organism report). Many times you can move your offer over to as-is with right to inspect. This will allow you to inspect the home and back out during the inspection time frame if you find disturbing information, but will mean the sellers are not responsible for repairing anything that is found in the inspections. One aspect to also keep in mind is that sometimes your lender will require you to have a WDO (wood destroying organisms) inspection, so you will need to be sure to know what they require to close your loan.
Unfortunately, this is not the time to snag a price deal. It would be great to get a deal on the price but that's not the only consideration to keep in mind. With most sellers getting full price and higher offers, and some receiving multiple offers above asking price; you need to keep in mind, you probably will not get a steal of a deal. Now also keep in mind, the current mortgage rate is hovering at 2.5%. This translates to a lot of savings over the term of the loan. So as you consider your offer, take all the factors into consideration.
Broaden your horizons...keep your search open. In this market we are starving for homes so don't narrow your search so tight that you miss the right house that may be just a little different than your ideal. Only have the minimum criteria in the search. If you can live with a three bedroom two bath under $250,000 then make that your search. It's not like right now your search will overwhelm you with a large number of homes if you leave the search as open as possible. I have been known to make the buyer's searches wide open, like just Santa Rosa County Florida...and they still only have 74 houses to choose from! So for right now, just keep it to the basic criteria. Minimum bedroom, Max price and general county seems to work best right now.
Is it a good time to buy right now? Well, that kind of depends on your circumstances--because if you need to buy, then yes its a good time to buy. You have to buy in the market you're in, and this is the market. The interest rates are incredible, which will save you in the long term. New construction is a good option because they are starting many new subdivisions right now--which usually sets you in a good position to win long term if you get in the subdivision early. Let's get together and chat through your needs and see how best we can help.
Plum Tree Real Estate Marketing