Should I wait until the market softens before buying a home? I don’t want to buy at the top of the market!

Trying to time the real estate market is like trying to time the stock market. Even the experts can’t do it! And, in trying, you put yourself at risk of being priced out of the market as prices continue to rise. Assess your needs and financial position. If you are ready and able to buy now, find a house that is good for you and find a way to buy it. You will have a lovely place to live, an income tax deduction, and a foothold in the equities market. As to your investment, just as in the stock market, think long term.

How much negotiating room is there on the asking price?

The answer to this varies with the circumstance. Are you in a fast-paced market where new listings often get multiple offers in the first few days? Is the house fairly priced to begin with? How long has the house been on the market? Has it just had a significant price reduction? How much is the house worth to you? Many buyers are willing to pay more than asking price as a pre-emptive bid to make sure they get the house that most fits their needs. After a long, exhaustive search, trying to save five or ten thousand over thirty years just isn’t worth losing the house that best suits their needs.

When putting my home up for sale, should I update my home or leave the updating to the new owner?

As a general rule of thumb, buyers today are looking for light, bright, updated, and ready to move-in condition. Most couples have two working adults that have no time to renovate and re-decorate. Most would prefer new construction but find they can’t afford it. So, freshly painted, new appliances, and a clean, crisp impression goes a long way to getting top dollar and ultimately, getting your house sold. A new toilet and sink in the bathrooms can go a long way toward giving an updated impression. Fresh paint and sparkling hardwood floors make a very positive first impression. A clean, neat, exterior is a must!

Should I buy a new home to avoid home inspection issues or should I consider buying an existing home?

It’s up to you! New homes certainly offer the convenience of move-in condition. All major systems are new so there is no need to worry for a length of time. However, new homes are very expensive in this area and the demand is high from buyers that worry about home maintenance. And, believe it or not, you will still have maintenance issues. A new home will generally need another exterior painting in three or four years as the fresh wood absorbs much of the paint. Existing homes that have been well maintained offer an excellent opportunity at a more affordable price. Often they will have hardwoods floors and plaster walls as the standard and real wood planks as underlayment instead of particle board or plywood. Existing homes also offer the stability of an existing neighborhood. So, you choose!

Can I expect the seller to fix all the problems found on the home inspection?

It depends! Usually a home inspection is to find major structural flaws that may influence your decision to buy or not and to give you an overview of the systems and how they work. The inspector may give you a list of home maintenance items that he would suggest you do over time. Whether the seller will participate in repairing any of the items is up for negotiation. What is the market like? Did this house have multiple offers. Was the home on the market for a long time? Did you already negotiate the condition of the house by making a low offer? Did you pay way over asking price and then found the house needs a costly repair you weren’t expecting? Assess the situation, and then create a plan of action.