What To Look For When Buying A Home In Today’s Real Estate Market

homewarnings 120 - what to look for when buying a home in today's real estate marketWarning! If you have not been looking at real estate non-stop for the last 10 years you might miss some of the biggest changes in the market that going on right now.   What you hear on the news might not be exactly what is going on.  Let’s first look at what’s hot in real estate news, then go over What To Look For When Buying A Home In Today’s Real Estate Market

Top topics right now are:

  • Housing Boom or Bust
  • Is this a housing bubble
  • New Construction is up
  • Housing Market Shifts To Sellers
  • Investors Still Looking At Atlanta

What this means is that housing prices are going up.  If the news is talking about this, then typically they are 6 months behind on the market.  (The simple reason is there is no data usually until after 6 months).  With prices up but rates down there’s a bunch of things that you should look for when buying a home in today’s real estate market.

It’s Still About Your Budget

You need to know what you qualify for but first, you should set a monthly budget and decide how much to spend on housing.  I usually suggest taking 30% off of your income, then minus you non-housing expenses to see what’s left over. Meaning if you have a $1,000 a month job, start at $700, deduct your monthly expenses and see what’s left over.  In this example, it might not be much. The 30% is your cushion which you might think is high but 10% Tithe/Giving, 10% Savings, 10% for surprises, furniture for the home, utilities… yeah it’s not as much as it looks.

Understand the Market

That’s why we took a look at the headlines.  First you need your budget so you know what to look for when buying a home in terms of price, the second key is to know the market where you are looking.   For instance, there’s new timelines on finding homes based on price range and those can be affected by area.  In general,

  • $50,000 and under – Multiple offers, less than 24 hour to act, most likely well above list price, no contingencies, as-is cash purchases are what’s expected from sellers here.
  • $50K to $100K – Multiple offers, well over list price, depending on the area you have 24 hours to 2 days to act.
  • $100K to $150K – Multiple offers in most cases, about a week to act depending on the area.  Offers are list price or slightly better, most offers have terms such as inspection contingencies or appraisal contingencies.
  • $150K to $200K – About a week to act, some multiple offer situations but not as many, mostly financed offers in this range.  Varies greatly from area to area.
  • $200K – $300K – Expect 2 weeks to 30 days to sell, if priced right there will be multiple offers, not likely over list price unless home is under priced.
  • $300K to $500K – 30 to 60 days to act from the time it’s listed.  If it’s under priced will sell very quickly otherwise you can be pickier.  Homes are selling, in some cases multiple offers occur particularly on unique homes.  Almost all are financed at this level, seller may pay some closing costs.  Negotiations are expected as price increase.
  • $500K and above – this is considered luxury market for Atlanta.  Negotiations are norm and everything depends on how well priced the home is.

Pick The Right Agent

In today’s market you want a Real Estate team, not a single agent.  The reason is that you want the expertise of a company that understands the selling side of the business enough to help out with Fannie Mae, HUD or Short Sale Homes as well as a buyer’s specialist (and even showing specialists) who can get you to the property fast enough to win the property. Some key questions for the agent and their team:

  • How many homes have they closed in the past year?
  • How many years have they been doing real estate?
  • Why them vs someone else?

If you read this far, then you know there’s some major changes going on and you should be warned that although it’s a great time to buy, it can be frustrating if you don’t know what to look for when buying a home.

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Joshua Jarvis
Joshua Jarvis

Joshua and his family have served Gwinnett County for over 20 years, specializing in homes for sale in Buford, Braselton, Hoschton and areas in the north Gwinnett area. Jarvis Team Realty has sold over 1,000 homes all over Atlanta