• Real Estate Quick Q & A

    by Carrie Benuska

    The headlines are full of good news for real estate markets across the country.  After years of articles on foreclosures, short sales, and financial crisis, this positive press feels like a breath of fresh air.  The mounting market momentum is increasing buyer and seller confidence, but it is also creating a bit of a frenzy.

    The current market in Greater Pasadena is quite brisk and the process of buying or selling can be complicated and intimidating.  In an effort to help those who are a bit in a quandary about how or when to enter the real estate market, the following are quick answers to some frequently asked questions:
    Is it a good time to sell?
    Median sales price in most Greater Pasadena communities is on the rise.  Interest rates continue to remain low, and well-priced homes are receiving multiple offers over the asking price.  With these conditions in place, it is an amazing time to sell.  Although the market could and most likely will continue to go up, all we know for certain is what is happening today.
    I want to sell my house, but how do I coordinate my next step so I don’t end up homeless?
    Today’s market is tricky, because it is easy to sell your house but not quite so easy to find your next one.  Unless you can afford to carry two homes at once, creating a plan to move from one house to the next is going to require creativity, flexibility, and wise counsel.  There are a few ways to do it, but each option has drawbacks and might entail incurring some amount of risk.  The potential benefits are great, but a seller must feel comfortable with the process.
    I keep track of all the new listings on zillow.com and go to every open house, so do I really need an agent?
    It is true that most homes on the market make their way onto the plethora of real estate websites, but finding a house is different than actually acquiring it.  The most desirable homes that come on the market sell in a matter of days, with many people fighting to be the accepted offer.  Once a desirable property is identified, a skillful Realtor will help you craft a great offer and respond to any counter offers in a way that maximizes your chances of acquiring the property.  Most of us would not go on an African safari without a guide, so don’t enter the wild world of home buying without someone to lead the way.
    I want to buy a house, but how can I compete with the many all-cash buyers?
    Anyone who has to get a loan is at a disadvantage to an all-cash buyer.  There is a level of uncertainty involved with the loan approval process, and lenders also require an appraisal.  If a seller can find someone who does not need to jump through these hoops and can also close in a quick manner, they will naturally gravitate to them. The key to competing with all-cash offers is to mimic their terms wherever possible, leaving off any contingencies possible.  You should also seek to offer a price that is higher than any all-cash ones.  A seller might be willing to choose your offer over an all-cash one if it is written in the right manner.
    Keep in mind that these are “quick answers” and only partially graze the surface of these important questions.  The decision to buy or sell a home should not be made lightly, but it is easy to allow nagging questions to stand in the way of taking action.  The time is right to invest in real estate, especially in the Greater Pasadena area.

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