Ready to Buy? Top Tips for Newbies in the Spring Housing Market

Reprinted from RIS Media’s Housecall

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By Hannah Whittenly

The housing market in some areas may make your home search more difficult. Be aware of what the market looks like before you decide to go house-hunting. Here are some other tips if you’re new to the housing market:

Be Prepared to Make an Offer

Get pre-approved for a loan before you start shopping for a home. This will let you know the types of homes you can realistically consider, as the last thing you want to do is find the perfect home and not be able to afford it. Having preapproval will also let you move faster when you do find the right home. In addition, the seller will be more willing to consider your offer if you already have financing secured. In a really hot market, the seller may have multiple offers on the table.

Look Into the Comps

Check out the comparable neighborhood sales or “comps” for the home you want to purchase, as this will tell you whether the price is at fair market value. You can adjust your offer accordingly with the value of the home. A drastically underpriced home may require extensive renovations, or there may be other problems you aren’t aware of yet. Comps are the baseline for how houses should be priced; an underpriced or overpriced home can be a red flag.

Have a Backup Plan

There may be instances in which you make an offer on the perfect home and your offer is rejected. If you can’t up your offer, it may be time to move on to another home. Keep an open mind when you’re shopping and look at more than one house before you make your decision. This may be more of a problem when it’s a seller’s market versus a buyer’s market. The time of year that you’re looking to purchase can also play a major factor when you’re in the market.

Consider Housing Alternatives

The traditional single-family home may not be the best solution for your first home, so it’s important to consider alternatives such as a condo, which will allow you to save money as you’re first starting out. A condo typically has a lower asking price, requiring a lower down payment. This can help you grow your equity and purchase a different home in the future. Another thing that you should consider is a home warranty, which can help cover any of the unexpected expenses associated with homeownership.

As a first-time buyer, you should also look into the various programs designed to assist those in your situation. In the end, consider all of your options when it comes to getting your foot in the door in the real estate market.

About marilynsellshollisterrealestate

I am a native Californian born in Los Angeles and have resided in San Benito County since January 30, 1959. I attended the University of Southern California. I am a licensed Real Estate Broker, license #00409787, active for almost 45 years. I started my career in 1972 and still am totally committed to the highest level of service to my clients. I am currently associated with Intero Real Estate Services. I am Past President of the San Benito Association of Realtors, serving in the role on numerous occasions. I was a Director of the California Association of Realtors for over 18 years, having served on numerous committees. I also served 2 terms representing the California Association of Realtors at the National level, NAR. I am a certified SRES (Senior Real Estate specialist), since 2005. My community involvement has included membership in the Hollister Rotary Club, serving as their first woman President in 2002. In the late 1960's, I became a member of the El Torillo Chapter of Children's Home Society, and served as President, and was also President of the Tri-County Council of CHS, which is today Kinship Center, and I am currently a Senior Active. I am a member of the San Benito Chamber of Commerce. From 2002-2008, I served on the Board of the Hollister Downtown Association and was their President from 2006-2007, and still serve on sub-committees of this organization. And, I am currently serving my 3rd term on the Community Foundation. My record of performance and my reputation have made me who I am in the industry. I am a household name in San Benito County, when you think of Real Estate. My name is recognized not only in Hollister, but in our neighboring counties, Monterey, Santa Cruz and Santa Clara counties. I have been involved in land development, marketed several subdivisions, sold ranches, commercial leasing, bank-owned properties, short sales and own a Property Management Company, Hollister Rental Properties, for more than 35 years. I am proud of my sales record and for the majority of my career I have been in the top 1% of major Real Estate Companies including Van Vleck Realtors, Cornish and Carey, Contempo, Seville-Contempo, Century 21, Coldwell Banker and finally Intero Real Estate services for the last 15 years. Using my skills in negotiating, mediation and transaction closure, during 2010 and 2011, I was involved with the City of Hollister's First Time Home Buyer Down Payment Assistance Program. The program was the City's Redevelopment Agency, under Bill Avera, with the assistance of CJ Valenzuela who was working with the County of San Benito. CHISPA, a non-profit, was responsible for restoring homes to equal to new condition that the City had taken back in foreclosure, or that they had acquired. When the homes were restored, we put them on the Multiple Listing Service and we went out and promoted the City's Down Payment Assistance Program. Buyers were screened and qualified by our preferred lenders. I facilitated workshops for First Time Buyers explaining the programs. I negotiated the contracts for the City of Hollister and with the Buyers. With this program, I closed 2 homes in 2010, and 4 homes in 2011. On a personal note, I am married to Richard Ferreira, a retired General Contractor/Developer. We have a combined family of six daughters, six grandsons and 3 granddaughters. We share commons interests in travel, movies, entertaining, and Richard has picked up my love of cooking. Our spare time is spent with family and enjoying our grandchildren.
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