Lately, there doesn’t seem to be as much inventory available in the real estate market as there are buyers looking to find a new home. This means that sellers are in the very fortunate position of having a large pool of homebuyers looking at their houses – and if they’re lucky, quick and perhaps even multiple offers could be rolling in. But for buyers, current market conditions can mean that they have little time to make a decision about putting an offer on a home they may have seen only briefly.
These circumstances dictate that buyers must be organized, prepared, and ready to make a quick move on a property they want before anyone else has an opportunity to move on it. And that means that buys don’t have the luxury of time to nitpick every feature of a new home. So what are the important features to consider?
Here are a few items that might be important to look at, and some that you shouldn’t allow to be deal breakers in a seller’s market:
Location – could you live here? Do you like the neighborhood? The neighbors? The schools? Access to parks, shopping, and public transportation? Is there enough parking for your family?
Safety – are there any security or safety issues you notice about the property – or the neighborhood in general? Doing a little research about the neighborhood up front could put you in the driver’s seat if you need to make a quick decision about whether to make an offer..
Overall condition – does the home appear in good shape? Are all of the main systems functioning well? What about the garage, attic, roof, and basement? Do you notice any obvious water damage or structural problems?
*Remember that to be sure of a property’s condition, it’s a good idea to have the home inspected.
Size and floor plan – unless you have unlimited money for renovations or an addition, this is something you will have to live with for at least a while. Don’t forget to think about storage, in addition to the number of bathrooms and bedrooms you need and the size of kitchen and living space necessary for your family.
Your future – is your family going to be getting bigger in the future? If it is, be sure to factor in room to grow. Or if you’re looking for a property that will not need a lot of maintenance in the future, this is also something to keep in mind.
Less Important Features
Dated or unappealing decorating – you can change this. Imagine your own belongings and style in the house and remember that your style will be reflected in how you decide to decorate.
Paint colors – while it can be hard to look beyond colors that curdle your blood, this is a must. Changing the paint on your walls is one of the cheapest and easiest ways to spruce up a home and make it a reflection of your tastes..
Small repairs – obviously you want a new home to be in reasonably good shape, but if the current owners haven’t had the time or means to make small fixes, ask yourself whether they are items you could repair with ease once you move in.
Finishing touches – the bells and whistles might be an appealing aspect of a new home, but do you need them at the outset? If you could update small fixtures or window treatments yourself later on, don’t lose out on the entire house because it lacks perfection in every detail.
In short, if you’re looking to buy a home in a seller’s market, you need to strike the right balance; if you’re too cautious, you risk missing an opportunity, but if you’re easily dazzled, you could end up overlooking a major flaw. And you need to be able to do this quickly. Be prepared; do your homework on the neighborhood and property if possible before you start booking showings. Partner with a savvy real estate agent who understands what you’re looking for and has good resources in place to identify properties quickly so that you can make a move.