When I meet people at social events, they often ask me questions about the real estate market, and about buying and selling homes. I’ve always been able to give them answers from my experience as a real-estate professional. Now, as a recent home-buyer myself, I can talk from personal experience, too.
I may be fairly typical of people who have recently moved to the Wilmington area, or have downsized, or are just starting their own households. Having sold my home, I was renting temporarily, but I knew it was time for me to become a homeowner again.
I’d fallen in love with a particular neighborhood, but hadn’t found a home for sale there. So I settled for a rental in the short run. Pretty quickly, I saw that with mortgage rates creeping up, and the housing market getting back to more normal, pre-recession conditions, it would be time to buy.
My dream home turned up, finally, in a foreclosure auction. It ended up being a good deal, even though I had to out-bid another would-be buyer. I closed in October 2013, so many of the details are still fresh in my mind.
Here are a few of the reasons I’m happy with my purchase, and with the deal I was able to make:
• A good interest rate. I got 4.375 percent, and I knew rates were going to get closer to 5 percent. Every percentage point on a $250,000 mortgage will cost another $150 a month, and that adds up very quickly.
• The federal tax deduction for mortgage interest is a major advantage of homeownership. This will save me thousands of dollars each year. That’s true for most buyers.
• As the formerly distressed housing market has gotten more balanced, rentals are getting scarcer and are costing more. In many cases, you can purchase now for less than you can rent.
• I had a home inspection done. This told me things I needed to know about the property before I made an offer. I could see some cosmetic issues I wanted to address, but I needed a professional inspector to tell me about some termite damage. That let me factor the repairs into the price and get it fixed without major surprises.
• The location is perfect for me. It’s close to work. It’s even closer to the area where I like to shop, dine out and enjoy leisure activities.
• It’s a pleasant place to live. The neighborhood has a welcoming feel. There’s always somebody walking their dog, or running, or out getting their mail. People wave and greet you. That’s important to me.
• I also thought about potential resale value, and even the house’s future rentability. Fortunately, the qualities that appeal to me also make the property desirable for others.
After closing on my new home, I went through the same emotions I’ve seen my clients deal with. Yes, that included buyer’s remorse! For a while, I questioned myself: Had I made a good decision? Buying a house is the most money most of us will ever spend on anything. Making a new home isn’t just a financial commitment; it’s an emotional one. But like most home buyers, I got over the worries. I’m happy with the house, with the price I paid, and with the interest rate.
No house is ever going to be perfect when you buy it. That’s true whether it’s brand new, or a resale. I had my new home repainted, and the wallpaper removed, so it would reflect my own tastes. For me, the redecorating was a lot of fun. And the cost of that work was something I’d planned on before making the decision to buy.
It’s certainly something I advise my clients to think about when preparing to make an offer: What will you need to invest in new furniture, rugs, blinds, paint?
For many families, options like FHA financing can help make these improvements more affordable by lowering the down payment needed.
An important part of what my team does is to help connect our clients with mortgage specialists – and home inspectors, home stagers, and other experts – who can help answer questions and streamline the process, whether they’re buying or selling.
Going through the home buying process myself has reinforced for me how important it is to have good, knowledgeable support. For all of us on my team, it’s important to help our clients make the right decisions.
Have a question about buying, selling or any other real estate matter? Let me know and I’ll address it in a future article.
Michelle Clark is a broker with Intracoastal Realty, based at the Wrightsville Beach office. She is an Accredited Luxury Home Specialist, ALHS and also a Short Sales and Foreclosure Resource. Whether you are buying, selling, or investing, know that Michelle and her team will go the extra mile for you. To learn more about Michelle and Intracoastal, go to www.intracoastalrealty.com. You may contact Michelle at [email protected] or 910-367-9767. Like Michelle’s team on Facebook at www.facebook.com/MichelleClarkTeam.
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