This is an tough market for buyers in Bellingham, especially if you are buying in the mid-range of the market or less. That’s $400,000 and less. We are regularly seeing multiple offers.
Here are the 5 things to keep in mind if you are thinking about buying.
1. Know WHY you are buying. Is this your home or is it an investment? One of my mentors away ranted that you should know your exit strategy before you buy. Don’t buy just because its a good deal, what is your plan? I talk to investors about the fact that there are only three strategies: cash, cash-flow and equity. For a personal residence, is this your first, move-up, or retirement home. The WHY determines the strategy. For instance, if you are planning on being in this house for 10 years or more, get in it, enjoy it, write off the interest. If you are planning a short move…the old adage is, the first year you lose money, the second year you break even, the third year you make a profit.
2. Get pre-approved for financing. Especially when dealing with multiple offers, you must have your financing lined up. Things have and are changing on the lending front. Investigate your options. There has never been a better time to shop financing. Not long ago, pretty much all lenders you talked you were offering the same financing options. Not any more. Now they can vary wildly. Talk to 2 or 3.
3. Educate yourself concerning the market. I’m a believer in The Marathon, as I call it. I load you in the car and we see as many properties as you can stand in a day. You will be amazed by what you can learn in just one day! You’ll see what kinds of properties are available. You’ll get a good feel for value. You’ll educate me about your likes and dislikes. It’s a fact-finding mission, not a buying trip.
4. Be ready to make a quick decision. Once you are educated on the market you’ll need to be ready to decide and act quickly. I would much rather you made an offer and tied up the property and then reject it later, then to wait to decide.
4. Always buy with re-sale in mind. Even if you say you are never moving again. Remember the Location, Location, Location rule. There are lower prices in nasty areas, that doesn’t necessarily make them a good deal. At some point your property will be sold, if not by you, then your heirs. A lousy house in a good area is better than a good house in a lousy area.
5. Look for easy improvements that will increase value. Do you just hate green shag carpet? Does the house stink? Is the yard wrecked? If you can see past some of the things that would turn other buyers away, you might be able to find a diamond in the rough.
If you could use some help, give me a call.