The old adage that “timing is everything” especially applies to buying a new home. And trying to be at the right house at the right time and get it for the right price can be tricky. Here are some guidelines to assist you:
- Turn to the real estate section of your Sunday newspaper and pick up a copy of the monthly Land and Homes Guide. Monitor the market and tract home prices. Expect to spend 90 days watching the real estate market through advertisements. Question and investigate homes that are advertised month after month. Hard-to-sell properties could either be a warning sign or simply overpriced for the value.
- When a real estate agent provides you with descriptions of homes currently on the market from the Multiple Listing Service (MLS), ask for a list of homes that were on the market within the last six months or year in the same neighborhood. Compare asking prices to actual sales prices for the same type homes.
- In addition to monitoring housing prices, learn to identify hot, up-and-coming neighborhoods by tracking selling prices from week to week. If one neighborhood experiences price booms while other house prices are sluggish, it’s clear which community to invest in. If you’re passionate about an upscale area – and on a budget – prepare to buy a fixer-upper and invest some money in renovation. Conversely, beware of buying a beautiful home in a marginal area. You may not get your money back when you sell.
- Keep close watch on the fluctuating mortgage interest rates. Low interest rates are the most inspiring reason to buy property. Watch the rate of United States Treasury Bills. According to Sonny Block, well-known talk show host and real estate author. T-Bills are a sure way of predicting the rise and fall of mortgage rates.
- Also watch the National Discount Rate, the rate at which banks can borrow money from the government. When the Discount Rate drops, banks pay less for borrowing the money and in turn reduce mortgage rates to the borrower.
Predicting when a market is ripe for home buying is not an exact science – even for real estate experts. However, by following these simple tips – and staying on top of real estate trends, sales patterns and interest fluctuations, you are sure to get the best house for your buck.