What Do Basketball and the Real Estate Market Have in Common?
In basketball, a fundamental skill is handling a rebound off the backboard. Rebound skills are worth cultivating if you’re in the market for a home, too. Housing prices hit their peak in early 2006, and it’s been a long slide down court ever since – up until now. Real estate is rebounding, with home price indices rising each month. Making a slam-dunk deal will require an understanding of house hunting variables to score the house of your dreams.
While home values and sales are rising, the available inventory is not. Prospective homebuyers motivated by historically low interest rates are finding fewer homes on the market – with competition driving prices up from their baseline. A significant portion of that competition is driven by investor groups snapping up the most desirable properties before individuals can make an offer.
To make a full court press in this rebound of real estate, here are a few tips for homebuyers:
- Be realistic with your offer.
Come up with a price based on what similar homes in the neighborhood have sold for within the past six months. Your Realtor will help with this. If you have your eye on a home in a seller’s market, you’ll need to move quickly as homeowners are being presented with multiple offers. If the area has homes languishing on the market for many months, then you can be more patient.
- Shop around for the best mortgage rates.
As with most major purchases, it pays to shop around – and think small. Many of the bigger banks are offering good mortgage interest rates, but you might be surprised by what small community banks offer. Community lenders know the local housing market in ways out-of-town banks do not – and you might enjoy actually meeting the bank president in person to shake hands on the deal.
- Compare insurance companies and coverages before you close.
Physical characteristics of a home impact the cost of insurance. Construction type, size, and overall condition are factors that determine the price of insurance protection. So does location. Insurers consider the quality and location of the local fire department, and they also consider how close the home is to the coastline or a body of water that may present a risk of flooding. Your Frontline Insurance agent can help with an online quote to factor insurance costs into your home-buying economics.
- Get a comprehensive home inspection from a reputable company.
Home inspection standards vary from state to state. Ask around for references. It is advisable to select an inspector affiliated with a professional association and, therefore, held to high standards of practice. Qualified inspectors check structural elements of the home, along with plumbing, electrical systems, appliances and components such as water heaters, air conditioning and duct work.Keep in mind, homes that have been vacant may have serious problems. For example, if the air conditioning was turned off, high humidity could grow mold, and this existing damage may bring health concerns. Additionally, existing damage is not covered under a home insurance policy.A home inspection should note every item that is defective or needs service. Even if you’re considering a brand new home, there is value in a home inspection – because there may be hidden problems only a pro can identify.
- Carefully consider the costs of remodeling and repairs.
If the home inspection reveals a list of repairs, consider hiring a contractor to provide an estimate of those repair costs. Some defects may be minor; others could be deal breakers. If extensive repairs are necessary, insurance coverage may be limited. Again, your Frontline insurance agent can help you understand the full costs of home ownership.
A final tip: Put everything in writing. With details spelled out in your offer, you’ll feel like you nailed a half-court shot at the buzzer.
Please remember that the comments contained in this blog are general in nature and that coverage under any specific policy of insurance will depend upon the terms and conditions of such policy.