Tips & Tidbits
Seasonal Changes –
Sellers~The market has been unusually activated since about January of this year. In the summer (starting approx July 4th weekend) things typically slow down just a teensy bit as people leave for vacation and many have found the homes they were looking for prior to the school-year-start in September (ie the pool of Buyers lessens some). Sellers who put their homes on the market now will still find plenty of interest as you can ascertain from our Market Activity Reports, and/but may be disappointed if they do not have a bidding war as they’ve been hearing about for awhile now. I’m not saying the market is not still good for selling, (and, there ARE ways to encourage multiple Offers at any time of year) …just be prepared for the slight change in atmosphere, which sometimes translates to not quite as much leverage when you’re the Seller. ***That said, it is all case-by-case. Why is the Buyer buying? Do they need to be settled before the school year starts? Have they lost out on other deals due to competitive bidding? You may or may not be able to find out, but if you DO know the answers to some of these questions, it can help you respond to your highest advantage. Trust your Realtor, or if you don’t have one, give me or one of us a call and we’ll be happy to help you through the changing landscape.
Buyers~A Buyer’s perspective is a little different. If you’ve been out looking and fighting for houses and losing, now may be your moment. As I mentioned above, the market has been hyper-active for a while now. As we move toward Fall, a couple of factors are in your favor. The first is that the pool of Buyers is lessening a bit for the reasons I mentioned above. This means you may not be in a competitive situation, or it may be with fewer Buyers if you are. Use the lessons you’ve learned already through trial and error. Make your Offer as strong as you are comfortable with. Talk to your Realtor (or to myself or one of us if you do not have a Realtor) and we can walk you through some ways to do that. Talk to your lender once again and revisit your strategy. If you are unsure of how your Offer price would impact you as far as your monthly payment is concerned, I always suggest having 3 dollar-amount scenarios drawn up. I find that most Buyers are surprised at how little their monthly payment is affected by making what seems to them to be a big jump in their Offer price. Bottom line: you need to be comfortable with your Offer. AND, you may be surprised at what the possibilities are for you, and sometimes this can make a difference in getting the home you really want in a still-competitive market.
Other Factors~Appraisals are really becoming more of an issue than even a month or so ago when Dianne mentioned them in a post herein. I advise my Buyer clients to talk to their lender about expediting their Appraisal in nearly every case. This costs money, so you need to assess what you can and are willing to do, but it is often a hundred or two dollars, and can mean the difference between Closing on time or not. ***That said, I have heard multitudes of horror stories in the last few weeks about Appraisals taking **weeks or months** longer unless someone pays an exorbitant amount sometimes in the thousands of dollars. I don’t mean to scare anyone. I just averted a near-disaster in this regard, and having a Realtor and lender with their eyes on the ball in this market is imperative, but this is apparently happening if there are any variables at all in a transaction that will limit the appropriate Appraisers who might be available/qualified etc. Sometimes the type of loan (VA, FHA, USDA) can limit the pool of Appraisers (I’m told) as can location of the property (is it outside of the metro area?).
The reasons for this mess are varied, but it apparently boils down to supply and demand, coupled with the newer regulations on mortgage companies. No longer can a mortgage company call an Appraiser they happen to know is familiar with a particular neighborhood or area of town. For everyone’s protection (to prevent collusion/nefarious behaviour/trying to get a particular value out of the Appraiser) mortgage companies now have to put the order in to an “Appraisal Scheduling” company. That company has a stable of Appraisers, and it is all handled mechanically. There is apparently a dearth of Appraisers due to more stringent requirements for becoming an Appraiser (I’m told), and therefore the stacks on Appraisers desks are getting higher and their time and availability to run out to more rural areas or even here in town is more scarce.
Best to set a longer timeframe for Closing to be on the safe side if you can (talk to your Realtor about what makes sense in your particular situation), and order it right away. Ordering it right away may mean that you are risking the money you pay for the Appraisal (instead of waiting till after you’ve inspected enough to know you want to proceed), but, depending on your unique circumstance, it may be your best bet.
Hope this info was helpful.