It has been quite some time since there has been so much positive news to report regarding the real estate market. Month after month and year after year we have heard reports of declining home values, sluggish, almost stagnant home sales and near impossible financing requirements. Each one of these factors served to negatively impact not only the real estate industry as a whole, but many families who wished to buy or sell.
I am happy to report that 2012 is bringing a new dawn to the industry and to those families who had all but given up on moving. If you're planning to buy a home in 2012, you might be surprised to learn that:
#1 - The shift is moving from a buyers to a seller's market. I'm seeing upwards of 20 couples come through open houses. I'm also seeing bidding wars again for homes that are priced appropriately. The low inventory currently available coupled with pent up demand caused by many people who sat on the sidelines for the past few years is creating these situations, the likes of which we have not seen in years. This shift is surprising many buyers. Don't get caught off guard. If you see a home you like, don't waste time - make an offer!
#2 - Despite what you may have heard, financing is not impossible to get. Many people aren't taking the initiative to look for a new home because they have heard that the banks aren't lending. It simply isn't true. If you can document your income, the odds are you can get a loan. Most real estate agents work with a number of lenders and can help point you in the right direction. At the very least, talk with a mortgage broker before you start the process of house hunting so you know what you can afford and what kind of mortgage you will qualify for, but by all means, don't believe the hype! Loans are available.
#3 - Fixing up a house is still a great way to build equity. While homes are now appreciating at a more healthy rate compared to the inflated appreciation of days gone by, one way to accelerate the appreciation is by making improvements - especially to kitchens and bathrooms. While it may be tempting to purchase a move-in ready home, take some time to consider the effect of buying a home that needs some renovation. Not only will you get the opportunity to make the space "yours" and have the benefit of picking the finishes you like the most, you will be positively impacting the resale value and equity position of your home. Yes, there are draw backs that come with renovation such as the time and expense of planning the actual construction, however, these temporary inconveniences give way to huge long term benefits as you watch the value of your home increase more rapidly.
Things are changing in 2012 when it comes to real estate, and it's important to be aware of the current market conditions. The news, generally, reports on a national scale. Often times the national picture is bleaker than what is happening in the bay state, which makes it even more important to be informed on a local level.