Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Are You On The Fence? Now’s The Time to Jump Off

Intrepid first-time homebuyers jumped off the fence and made an important impact on the housing market this week. Pending home sales rose 3.2 percent in March, according to the National Association of Realtors Pending Home Sales Index. Closer to home the news is even better–pending home sales in St. Charles County rose 26 percent in March, says Karen Vennard, president of the St. Charles County Association of Realtors.

Investors liked the news too. Infused with a sense of optimism about the economy, the stock market responded with the Dow Jones Industrial gaining 214 points and the Nasdaq 44 points in one day.

First-timers evaluated the housing situation and decided that now is the time to buy. Interest rates are at an all time low, there is plenty of housing available, prices are affordable, and then there’s the 8 percent tax credit incentive for first-time buyers.

That tax credit expires December 1, 2009. The credit is equal to 10 percent of the home’s purchase price up to $8,000. This has really moved people into the market instead of waiting to see what might happen down the line.

Because of the time limit on the tax credit, if you are a first-time buyer even remotely considering a home purchase this year, now is the time to get organized. This is excellent advice even if you don’t qualify for the tax credit.

Potential buyers should:

  • Keep saving! Cash is king and the bigger the down payment, the better mortgage terms you’ll get.
  • Investigate financing now and get pre-qualified for a loan.
  • Be very honest with yourself and determine how much house you can really afford. Do research on how much your monthly payment would be and consider expenses like utilities and taxes.
  • Check your credit report. You don’t want any surprises there.
  • Work with a SCHNEIDER Real Estate Realtor who knows the neighborhoods, schools, social amenities and has your interest as a buyer as first priority.

Sellers should:
  • Communicate with your Realtor. Pass along improvements you’ve made that would make a good selling point. Open communication is absolutely necessary for your Realtor to bring you the best qualified buyers and avoid misunderstandings.
  • Speaking of communication, make sure everyone knows your home is for sale. Word-of-mouth is one of the best marketing tools. Welcome neighbors at your open house. They in turn may very well bring your buyer to you Realtor and clinch the sale.
  • Keep your property neat, clean and inviting. Mow the grass, trim the shrubs, water those annuals and perennials. Nothing says you’re not welcome like dead flowers and overgrown grass. Potential buyers will find your listing on the Internet or in the newspaper and drive by to preview the property. You have about 45 seconds of curb appeal to convince a buyer that your home is well cared for and the right purchase.
  • Green, green, green is the way to go. The current movement toward energy savings and sustainable resources is not a fad. Buyers are looking for ecological solutions in their purchases and sellers need to incorporate these features into the home’s selling points.

While things are looking up right now, we still don’t know if the market has bottomed out and is on the way up to more robust times. Both buyers and sellers must make their own personal decisions about the housing market. Returning to a growing economy and housing market won’t be easy. But if we all get off the fence and show some confidence, we’ll get there sooner rather than later.

1 comment:

CoachingByPeter said...

By knowing your local real estate investing market, you're able to keep your finger on the pulse of your local community and to stay abreast of changes in trends, sales prices and rental rates. Knowing immediately about these changes is critical to your investing future.