House-hunting: When is the best time to buy your new home?

Posted on August 8, 2018MLIVE

You’ve been driving past homes with for sale signs in the yard while “window-shopping.”

You’ve been thinking about features that you must have, can live without and don’t want.

And you’ve thought about neighborhoods that fit your lifestyle.

So, when is it time to get off the sidelines and start officially house-hunting?

The best answer is also the most complex: When you’re ready.

The first step in a housing search is to talk to and begin working with a member of the Greater Regional Alliance of Realtors® who can help guide your quest to buy the perfect house. Only GRAR members have the professional expertise to help buyers and advocate on their behalf. Licensed agents understand the market forces and can advise you on how to find what you’re looking for, the process behind making a successful bid and walking you through the closing process.

Here are more tips for the hunt:

Educate yourself: Formalize your desires and allow your Realtor® to guide you in the right direction to where value exists or areas that may have the house you need. How many bedrooms and bathrooms do you want? Is a fireplace necessary? What is your price range and does it match the amenities you’re looking for? Dreaming about a house is fun, but buttoning down the details will help you be successful.

Don’t try to time the market(s): Your Realtor® will know the market conditions in and around West Michigan, and many buyers are surprised to find there are variables that can affect neighborhoods where value can be found or homes could be inflated. The key is being ready to commit when you find the house that meets your goals. Mortgage interest rate fluctuations are more common than real estate market turns, but it is a mistake to try to wait for a percentage to tick down. The rates are still at or near historic lows and waiting for a drop, there could be a small jump.

Seasonality

The inventory of houses for sale is almost always at a peak in the spring and summer months, making it more likely that you’ll be able to find a house that fits your parameters. The flipside of the availability is that the pool of buyers is also larger at that time of year. It’s important to drive your own search and not fall into a trap of feeling you have to buy or have to bid above list price.

Patience is a virtue:

As referenced above with seasonality and housing inventory, don’t be in a rush to buy a home. It’s a process, not a race. Keep looking for the best home for you, and if you’re feeling frustrated, it may be time to reevaluate your list of amenities and locations by possibly sacrificing the requirement of a mud room while also looking at a different part of a city, suburb or township.

A member of the Greater Regional Alliance of Realtors® is ready and excited to help you find your first home, your retirement pad or a residence anywhere in between.

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