Learning what NOT to do in our hot Bethesda real estate market is almost as important as learning what TO do. Here are a few points that we always share with our buying clients:
Being in a Financial “Fog”:
- Don’t rely on your memory, don’t ballpark your income or your big bills: home buying is a MAJOR decision so don’t take the road to home ownership lightly.
- In a hot market like ours, you may be up against fierce competition and you may need to make important decisions on short notice. There are aps you can use, like Manilla or Mint: which track your income and expenses; or go “old school” and keep a journal.
- Looking at real numbers can serve another valuable purpose; they can be a not-so-subtle reminder to make some sacrifices if you are serious about buying a home.
Hesitating in an active market:
- When you make the decision to buy, make it REAL by getting your financing lined up. There’s nothing worse than finding a great home, starting to “mentally move in”, only to realize that your loan approval expired! In today’s DC-area real estate market, you probably shouldn’t be out house hunting without a current loan approval.
Ignoring the market altogether:
- We aren’t advocates of chasing the market-you’ll go around and around and never feel like the time is right to buy. Having said that, when you feel like you are ready, make this important decision a smart one. Become MARKET SMART by identifying which types of properties move quickest in your desired neighborhood(s), looking at how long homes are staying on the market, whether multiple offers are a reality you may need to face…and, if so, how much over-asking price homes like the one you like are selling for.
- Although appraisals often prevent overpaying, it’s important to pull comparables before you make your offer.
- While you should use sold property prices for a solid comparison, if there are other similar homes that are under contract (and which went under contract quickly after hitting the market), consider them into your equation.
- If a home hits the market and is quickly scooped up, you can be reasonably certain that it fetched a close-to-asking price contract.
Be True to Yourself:
- Set in stone what your actual, maximum home purchase price is.
- Remember, even if you are in your 20’s or 30’s, there may be children in your future (which may mean private school tuition), dream vacations to take every summer, and, ultimately, retirement. Factor these into your real estate conversations…with your lender and your agent.
- Never act out of desperation: Desperation has NO place in a home buying transaction. Remember: there are probably dozens of homes in your price range here in the metro DC area that will more than meet your needs. Not one of them is “perfect”. For every home you make an offer on and DON’T GET, you are better equipped for the market, better equipped to make a better decision, and better equipped to recognize and react to the house that will eventually be called your home.