In the middle of a worldwide pandemic, our lives have flipped upside down.
No rush hour delays, no happy hours with friends, no fixed work schedules
Life changed so quickly & dramatically, it feels like we are in the middle of a catacalysmic shift, silently altering the way we live today and the way we will live tomorrow.
So what does this mean for you-the home buyer who had planned to be house hunting this Spring?
I am working with a few home buyers who have to find a home this Spring or they won't have a place to live. One couple has to find a house now before the lease is up on their rented apartment.
Then there's the military family relocating to the Washington DC area for the parents new job at the Pentagon. The job starts in a few weeks so every night we're sifting through listings and gathering information.
But some home buyers either have to delay buying a home due to financial constraints or want to delay buying a home to see what happens with the housing market in the next few months. If this is your plan, here are some suggestions for ways to prepare now so you are ready to move ahead in the near future.
- How long do you plan to live in the house you buy? Talk with your agent about your short and long term plans for the house you want to purchase. It's best if you and your agent get on the same page early in the process. A good agent will ask you questions like: Is this your forever home? Do you have the skills required to purchase a fixer upper? Can you live in this house while you update the kitchen and bathrooms? Have you checked out the neighborhood to see if you are buying the "best house on the block"?
- Are you evaluating the neighborhood as well as the property? This is the first and most important part of the home buying process! The pictures on the Multiple Listing Service may look incredible but you'll need to check the neighborhood to see if people are keeping their properties in good shape. If not, this could affect your property values. I suggest driving and/or walking neighborhoods of interest. You'll learn so much by trusting your instincts and getting a feel for the neighborhood where you may buy a home.
- How long has the house been on the market for sale? Ah! Here is the telltale sign of a problem property. If the days on the market (DOM on the listing) shows over 90 days, there could be problems. Including but not limited to the following: wet/damp basements, sellers that have priced the property too high, a house that needs LOTS of fixing up and the price doesn't match, a previous inspection that found serious issues but those issues have not been addressed. This list could go on but again it comes back to the agent you are working with and ensuring they are working for your best interests.
- Look for an exclusive buyers agent in your area. Exclusive buyer agents are members of the National Association of Exclusive Buyer Agents (naeba.org) and work for people buying homes. They're different from traditional agents so check them out to see if they fit for you.
- Get on the same page with your partner! You think you know everything about your partner until you buy a house. There is something about buying a home that goes deep into expectations about your perfect future. If you haven't shared expectations out loud to anyone, especially your partner, they come out a** backwards during the home search. Trust me, I know:) so to make this easier on everyone, talk about what you want, expect, dream of and hope for your future. It will make the home search experience fun and really sweet.
My favorite part of this journey is when we all find the right & perfect home.
That is a "happily ever after" moment.