While Media Coverage Of The National Housing Market Swings, New Home Buying Goes On

Recent news coverage given to the national housing market may cause many individuals to feel unsure of their base understanding concerning the ins-and-outs of home buying in their area. What the average new home shopper must realize is that a “truly good time to buy” is far more dependent upon individual circumstances, and not quite so tethered to temporary market conditions as he or she might think.

Economists may treat residential real estate like a science, but there is no one definitive timetable or price guide for buying that is applicable to everyone shopping for a new home – nor are there any hard-and-fast rules as to what constitutes a buyers’ or sellers’ market. Generally, cities like Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania demonstrate much greater stability than similarly sized cities in the Northeast or out West. Likewise, the housing markets of cities such as Orlando, Florida might be considered to flux in hot and cold cycles. Nonetheless, Florida’s population grows year in and year out, so the market will continue to be strong.

Some might also try to predict new home buying and selling activity by season, but there actually is no right or wrong season to be on either end of the transaction. Everything depends upon what works best for the individual buyer. While all markets appear cyclical on a macro-level, prospective home owners tend to feel that on a micro-level, the intrinsic value of the four-bedroom, two-and-a-half bath structure they wish to call home has the greatest influence on their buying decision. When a change in your personal circumstances also affects your housing needs, it really doesn’t matter what time of year it may be.

The fact that there is no right or wrong market or season for buying is great news. However, you, the buyer, should never make any new home deal without doing your homework first.

The number-one rule of home buying: Do your research

Home buyers will get a head start securing the best value on their new home if they thoroughly research the area in which they wish to live. While everyone expects to do a fair amount of research prior to relocating, you should not underestimate the value of research even if you’re moving down the street. Even if you’ve lived in just one place all of your life, you may be unfamiliar with the specifics of its real estate market. Lifelong renters, while being up on the market rental rates in their area, might be unfamiliar with the wide range of prices for which houses sell in that very same area. While the Internet and local newspapers might come to mind as the first places to begin research on recent home selling prices, you may also want to contact real estate professionals such as homebuilders and land developers prior to contemplating a contract with a real estate broker.

The costs of owning a home, be it a vintage Victorian or state-of-the-art new construction, must also be thoroughly researched prior to buying, if you want to make the most educated decision. For example, when renting, you do not usually think about the costs of property maintenance, water and sewage, home remodeling, or termite and wasp extermination. That is because your landlord has taken care of these costs for you. Start by creating a sheet that itemizes the possible costs of the home you wish to buy, including utilities, taxes, furnishings and maintenance – and be sure to include those estimates in your projected monthly budget.

Before buying a new home, you must consider the affordability of your monthly mortgage payments – or else, your mortgage loan underwriter will do it for you. You should not have any problem finding multiple home loan specialists to assist you with the budgeting process. As with any exchange of knowledge, ask these professionals plenty of questions, and make sure their advice makes sense to you. You will find the home buying process to offer you many more options if you can make a significant down payment on your mortgage, so it’s wise to start considering a sincere saving plan months in advance of your purchase. The more money you have saved before you embark upon the process of buying a house, the more comfortable you will feel along the way.

Make sure to keep your dream of home ownership a priority, as any additional credit you take on after the loan application may adversely affect the loan closing. Select a mortgage carefully, as there are many different options available. Be it a traditional fixed-rate mortgage or an adjustable rate mortgage, do not sign on the dotted line until you understand every aspect of the loan.

Most importantly, tailor your personal circumstances to fit your decision to buy. Start making these changes early, well before you settle on any one definite home. If you owe major payments on another item, such as an automobile, catch up on these payments as soon as possible. If your credit score is borderline or could use a boost, begin working on it by paying off debts and paying all of your bills on schedule. Examine your current monthly budget and look for areas in which you can save or cut back. Owning a home can involve making financial sacrifices in other areas of spending. For example, in order to meet your mortgage payments, you might have to pare down your entertainment budget, or spend less on monthly transportation expenses. But the tax savings on a new home is substantial, so you may want to speak to a tax professional as well to see how the investment balances out.

Finally, never be lured by housing “bells and whistles” that do not add lasting value to your home. Never settle for the first house you see, either. You will be surprised how well you will be able to develop your own sense of housing value by simply visiting a few different homes. Competitive shopping will allow you to find the most house for your money. Location, construction quality, and energy efficiency are the key components that determine a new home’s value. Fancy fixtures or wall coverings are nice, but they won’t stand up to the lasting value of efficient home design or a strong foundation.

Conservative thinking and conservative spending are your best friends during the home buying process. Take your time; shop around, talk to home builders and mortgage lenders, and get some quotes. The most important aspect of home buying is that you feel 100 percent comfortable with your decision in all aspects of the deal – from the mortgage, to the location, to the closing price – now, and for years to come.