Everyone is always asking about the real estate market. What is going on? Are there still deals? How much to do need to put down? What is the interest rate? What is a good offer on a house? Do I need a realtor®?
First let me say, the market is good, but it could be better. It is definitely a sellers market–which means they are getting their price. Depending on the area–because all real estate markets are relative. What that means is the real estate market is relative to the area. It could be relative to a city, town, county or even a neighborhood. Be sure to ask a realtor® for the most up to date information in your area. The biggest problem we have today is lack of inventory.
So, are there deals? It depends on what you consider a “deal.” If you have to pay full price, does that mean you did not get a “deal?” A good deal means both buyer and seller are happy with the price. Let’s face it, full price on a house that is priced fairly is a good deal. Did you get what you were looking for in a house? Is it in your price point? I had a buyer offer more than list price for a home because she really wanted the house. Did she think she got a good deal? Yes! She loves her house and she was willing to pay more to out bid the other buyers. If you think a good deal means you bought for less than list price–you might not think there are deals out there. Many homes are selling for list price or more–because there are more buyers than sellers and buyers want the house. It doesn’t mean it isn’t a good deal.
How much do you need to put down? Well that depends on you and your lender and I will answer the next question with this one. What is the interest rate. First let me explain, interest rates change daily. So it really doesn’t matter what I tell you today. It can go up or down before I spit the rate out. In addition, the interest you will pay is determined by the type of loan and your credit score. That means it doesn’t matter what I tell you because I don’t know what your credit score is nor do I know what your debt, nor income is. While interest rates have gone up lately, they are still considerably low. The best thing you can do–if you are buying a house–is to bind a contract and lock in your rate.
Another thing I can tell you is, your lender is your friend. Your lender can tell you what you need to do to bring up your credit score and advise you through the process at no cost. You do not need to pay someone to help you improve your credit score. So just a FYI, if you need credit counseling, call a lender. You might also want a realtor® to recommend a good lender. We know who we like and who works harder for our buyers.
What is a good offer on a house? Well, that is another question that is difficult to answer. It is best to have your realtor® do a Comparative Market Analysis (CMA) on the home you want to buy. Depending on the market, a good offer could be list price. Don’t think a realtor® is going to tell you a higher price because he/she wants a higher commission. We don’t work that way.
Do you need a realtor®? Yes, yes and yes. Whether you are buying or selling, you should use a realtor®.
For the seller, we market the home–including signage, lockbox, multiple listing servers, open houses, agent lunches, flyers, pictures. . . In addition, the realtor® is there to negotiate on the sellers’ behalf and , monitor the transaction from start to finish. There are companies that will list for you but then you are totally on your own when it comes to negotiations and follow through. They don’t help you with the contract, negotiations nor the follow through. They do reduce the commission for not doing the work.
For the buyer. Today, buyers have access to all the multiple listings through Zillow, Trulia, Realtor.com and so many more. What they don’t have is access to the house nor someone to help with negotiations and follow through with contractual agreements. The buyer can always call the listing agent to get into the house and that agent will also write a contract but, that agent is representing the seller. Do you think the listing agent has the buyers’ interest in mind? No. And that agent receives commission for both sides of the transaction. Buyers, make sure you have a realtor® to represent you. This holds true for new construction too. On site agents represent the builder and do not represent you!! Remember that.