Buying a Home in the 2014 Spring Market

by Michelle J. LaneImage

This spring proves to be even tighter than last year.  If you refer to my blog post on Selling a Home in the Spring 2014 Market, you will see a chart that shows the trend of homes on the market in Newton from Jan 2012 through today.  You will see that inventory was extremely tight in 2013 and that trend is worsening in 2014.

The key points that Buyers will want to focus on are:

  • Where to Start Your Online Search – hint do not use Zillow or Trulia.
  • Learn the Market for the Towns of Interest
  • Get Your PreApproval Lined Up
  • Be Prepared for a Bidding War (or several)

Where to Start Your Search Online

The best scenario is to have your Realtor set you up in MLS to have listings that meet your criteria sent to you via email.  That way you see everything new as soon as it comes on the market.

In addition if you want to search online, I would advise that you not use Zillow and Trulia.  Why?  Because the data from MLS gets pushed out to these sites.  This information lags behind the MLS.  It can take up to 48 hours for the information to propagate to these sites.  It seems to take even longer – sometimes months – for homes to be marked as Under Agreement or Sold.  So I often get clients asking me why there are homes they don’t get from the MLS appearing on these sites.  Other sites to consider – Realtor.com, Century21.com, etc.  It is important for us to work closely together so that I can let you know when homes come on the market that match your criteria come on and so that we can get to see them before the disappear!

Learn the Market for the Towns of Interest

It is important to know how the towns you are looking in are trending in terms of Prices, Inventory Levels and Days on Market.  The best source for this information is your Realtor.  However, if you want to do some exploration on your own, check out Boston Magazine’s Chart of Single-Family Home Prices and their Chart of Condo Prices.  When you find a house you love, I can tell you whether that house is overpriced or is a home you can expect to get into a bidding war on.

Get Your Pre-Approval Lined Up

There is no such thing as making an offer on a home that won’t require you to have a solid Pre-Approval.  And there is a lot more work involved in getting one  these days – tons of paperwork to dig up and provide to you lender.  Also, if you will be getting gift money from family, that needs to be lined up well before you make an offer on a house.  Your family will need to show they had that money in their accounts.  Banks frown on last-minute movement of monies.

Be Prepared for a Bidding War

Odds are, with the tight inventory, you will get into a bidding war…and lose…then get into one or two more before you land a house.  The more you brace yourself for that possibility, the better prepared you will be to get into the battle and win.  We will definitely strategize as you find homes you love.  That strategy will involve talking about price, terms and timing of your offer to make it as attractive as possible to the sellers.  For more information, check out Boston Magazine’s How to Win a Bidding War article.

Want to talk about selling your home? Feel free to contact me.

Michelle J. Lane

Michelle J. Lane
Century 21 Commonwealth
CELL: 617 584-3904