Life is often a balancing act filled with so many questions
Should I buy a home now? Barbara says: When you buy a house you are making a large financial investment, but equally important, you are creating a life style for you and your family. If you need to move now for a good reason (you are outgrowing your house, you need to downsize, stairs have become difficult, your job has changed locations, you need better schools, etc.), go ahead and take the plunge. Live your life, don’t put it on hold. Now is a great time to be a buyer. mortgage rates have fallen, so affordability is at record highs. While interest rates are at historic lows for qualified borrowers, now is a good time to buy. Buying a home is not like buying a television set that is mass produced. Each home is unique, with varying locations, conditions, upgrades, etc. The trick to buying in this market is selecting a home that matches the needs of your family but still keeps in mind desirability to others in the future. If you plan to live there at least 5 years, go ahead and buy your exotic dream house. If you think it will be a short residence, be more careful and think more about resale. Pay more attention to location and what will appeal to the masses.
Will prices fall? Barbara says: Perhaps, but buying a home is a bit like buying stock in the stock market– everyone wants to buy at the very bottom and sell at the very top. Realistically, almost every purchase is somewhere in between. The housing market has its cycles and sales will always cycle up and down in price. Past trends have always been more up than down so worry less about being at the very bottom price in the market and concentrate on choosing the best home to live in that has good resale potential for the future.
When is the best time to buy? Barbara says: Spring usually has the biggest selection of homes to pick from but prices are usualy slightly higher in the spring because you are competing with the largest amount of other buyers for the best homes. Fall and winter usually offer the best chance to negotiate for a great deal because many sellers appreciate the “bird in the hand” and don’t want to wait through Chicago's winter weather until the next round of buyers come of hibernation in spring. Every year has a different character so concentrate on what works for you.
What should a seller do to survive in today's buyer's market? Barbara says: Three things are needed to sell your home in a reasonable amount of time.
1. Plan ahead and get your home looking good while spending the least amount of money. Walk through your home and try to see it from a buyers' viewpoint. Be honest! If it is a low cost improvement, do it. If it costs more, call me and we can discuss what will add value but not cost to your home. Pick up, clean up, get rid of the stuff you haven't used in ages. Toss, sell, or give to charity anything you would not move with you. Now like never before, your house must look good in person but great in photos, because almost all buyers preview the houses they will visit on the internet.
2. Price it right In this kind of a buyer's market no one will overpay for a house. Look at what sold, not what your neighbors are asking.
3. Hire a knowledgeable Realtor (preferably me) to see your house with fresh eyes, price it fairly, market it creatively, and guide you through the often challenging home selling process with care and concern.
Do you believe in love at first sight? Barbara says: I have to believe in it because that was how I felt about every home I ever bought. But in every case, I was well educated and I had really seen a lot of other possibilities, so I really knew the market and I knew what I needed and wanted. One of my jobs as a Realtor is to help you find the best of the housing choices and give you a reality check if you fall in love with a house that may not meet all of the needs and wants you expressed to me. I will always be honest and point out my concerns so you can at least consider them before you purchase a home.