Your Spring Guide to House Hunting

    Many buyers and sellers try to plan for moving in the summer when schedules are a little more flexible. This makes springtime an immensely popular season for buying and selling real estate. With this popularity comes an increase in competition for home buyers. Since so many people are looking to buy their next home in the spring, you will need to be smart in how you search for properties and how you prepare to purchase the one you want.

    What are the best ways to house hunt in the spring?

    Check for older listings. Most people do not want to move during the holidays or during the winter season. Any properties on the market during that time tend to not get much interest. This can sometimes mean that sellers are eager to unload their properties in the spring. Keep an eye on any older listings you may be interested in, as the sellers could be open to lower offers or other concessions. You might just get a great deal.

    Make a list. Making a list of must-have features and a list of like-to-have features will help you see what you can and cannot live without. Separate anything you will or will not sacrifice onto the different lists. This will help you compare the different features with available listings to see what you can afford and what is available in the neighborhoods where you are looking. Are there features you would sacrifice to afford to live in certain neighborhoods, or would the location trump certain features of the home?

    Start looking early. Some buyers start looking as early as February to jump on any new listings as they become available. Start by looking online and getting a feel for the different properties available in the areas where you want to move. Make a list of properties that your agent can help you get in to see. 

    Get preapproved. Although the list of must-haves and a list of properties to view are essential to the search process, preapproval for a loan is just as important. Without being preapproved by your lender, there is no guarantee you will be able to purchase a home, even if the right one comes up at the right price. Going to your local bank and getting preapproved for a loan will make your offer process less stressful. You will be able to see what you can actually afford and which properties are still on the table in that price range. It will also give the seller added confidence when you make an offer on their home.

    Why work with an agent?

    Agents are tremendously helpful for buyers. They are guides through the searching, negotiating, and closing processes. They represent you to make sure you get the best deal through strategic negotiation. They are there when you have questions about the properties, want to add terms to the contract, and when you simply don’t know what to do next.

    Real estate agents are also helpful for finding details about properties. In many cases, they can tell you how long a property has been on the market, if the seller has had any offers, and whether or not this property is likely to get snatched up quickly by another buyer. They offer knowledge and experience specific to the market and neighborhood where you want to buy.

    You can choose to either contact the listing agent in charge of that property or find another local agent who you would like to work with through the buying process. Either way, that agent will represent you and help walk you through the process of putting in an offer, negotiating any counter-offers, and finally accepting the final offer for your dream home.

    How does the housing market change in the spring?

    Springtime is a busy time for real estate transactions for the main reason that most people prefer to move during the summer. Kids are out of school during that time, and it tends to be easier to schedule vacation days at work. This makes spring an ideal time for buyers and sellers to get something under contract and plan for moving sometime around June or July.

    During the summer, real estate can slow down as fewer people want to consider making a move with the holidays right around the corner. That’s why more people want to jump on the market once the weather has thawed out from winter. They want to find something quickly and plan for summer so they don’t miss their chance for a move during busy school schedules or holidays.

    For you as the buyer, this means your competition is a little higher in the spring. House hunting will be a little more strategic and offers will need to be made a little more quickly than at other times during the year. If you want to beat the other buyers, you will need to be ready with preapproval from your lender and know what you’re willing to spend in the case of a bidding war.

    Make an appointment with Crager Realty to set yourself up for success as you start house-hunting!

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