If you are beginning the home-buying process, you may begin to wonder how long it will take until you find the perfect home for you and your family. The answer to that varies due to different factors. Check out these three factors on how many homes you will tour before buying:


The State of the Market


A buyer's market is when there are few houses for sale and the ones that are available, sell quickly. This creates a higher demand for houses as people scramble to buy what they can. If the location you are considering seems to be a buyer's market, you may be competing with multiple buyers for the same house. If you are hesitant with a house because you think a better one is out there, someone else may swoop in and sign a contract. This leaves you with fewer options and a long time trying to find a house. If you find yourself in this situation, you will probably need to move as quickly as possible if you want to secure a home.


Knowing What You Want


If you are specific about the type of house you would like, then it is usually much easier for a real estate agent to suggest properties to tour. For example, if you insist on living in a house with a backyard, they will refrain from suggesting a high-rise condo. If you are more open to various options, you have a bigger playing field, and it may take some time to sort through the selection. Before you begin your search, take some time to really consider what you are looking for.


Your Willingness to Compromise


Home buyers usually have a list of things they absolutely need to have in their potential home. However, all of the amenities you are looking for might not be in the right location or fit within your budget. For example, a three-bedroom house a short drive from downtown may cost thousands more than that same type of house further away. If you are willing to compromise on what you want, you can find a home much quicker. 


Finding the perfect house for you can take weeks, months, or even longer. To shorten this length of time, know what you want, and be willing to compromise. Soon, you will be able to find the home you have been dreaming of and begin life as a homeowner.

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Spring may be the most popular time of the year to buy a new home, but is it the best time of year to go home shopping? While the best time to browse real estate is when you need a new home, there are advantages to shopping in each season. As you prepare to buy a home, learn what to expect when home shopping in spring, summer, fall, and winter.


What to Expect When House Hunting in Spring 


As winter ends and weather starts to warm up, people emerge from their houses. The same flurry of activity holds true for house shopping. Suddenly, there are many more homes for sale on the market, and many more interested home shoppers. 


Sellers who took their listings off-market during the winter may renew listings now. Nice weather means homeowners can make improvements, so in the spring real estate market you're likely to see high-quality homes listed at market-rate prices. 


More inventory is offset by higher competition for premium homes and higher prices. Sellers are optimistic that they will be able to sell their home before summer, so they may be less likely to accept a lowball offer. 


What to Expect When House Hunting in Summer 


The summer market is similar to the spring real estate market, except that fewer houses will come online. Homes that were listed early in the spring and have not sold may see their prices decrease; sellers may be more likely to compromise on price now. Since there are still new homes coming on the market, there are lots to see and do. 


Many buyers want to close on homes for sale before summer, so the children can start at a new school. As summer stretches on, expect to see fewer homes for sale and less competition for premium properties.


What to Expect When House Hunting in Fall 


The real estate market starts to slow down in fall. With children in school, families who were considering a move may put it on the back burner since the timing is no longer ideal. This means fewer crowds at open houses and an easier time getting into showings for listed real estate. 


You will notice fewer new listings of homes for sale; here again, prices may drop. At this point, home sellers can become extremely motivated to sell their homes before the end of the year. It's bargaining time! 


What to Expect When House Hunting in Winter 


In areas with four seasons, fewer people list their homes for sale in the winter. Those who do put their houses on the market in wintertime tend to do so because they need to sell their home quickly and they cannot wait for an ideal real estate market. Now you really have a buyer's advantage. The caveat here is that homes on the market now may be in fair condition and require a lot of work: fixer-uppers, in other words. Don't let that deter you from house hunting, because you never know what you will find. There may be a diamond in the rough.


Ultimately no matter what season you decide to look for a home, there are pros and cons. When you understand what to expect in each season, you can evaluate properties, understand trends, and make the right decision with less stress.


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When you decide to take your first step on the property ladder, you will have plenty of property-types to choose from. Many buyers prefer to buy an existing single-family home, some want to buy a plot of land on which to build their house, while others would like to get the keys to a condo.


If you are a member of the latter group, you may be interested in learning a little bit more about the benefits and drawbacks of purchasing a condo:


Pros


•    A Gated Community 

Condos often offer higher security than a traditional home as they usually sit within a gated community. There will be a security presence at all times at the gate, keeping a close watch on the people who enter and leave. If you are at all concerned about crime and theft in your area, this added security can do a great deal to set your mind at ease.


•    A First Home

If you, like most people, don't have a huge budget to purchase your first home, a condominium may be an attractive option. They are often available for a significantly lower price than similarly-sized single-family homes in the same neighborhood.


•    Easy Maintenance

When you own a condo, you can just kick back and relax on the weekends while the on-site crew takes care of all the maintenance and repair work on the property. Condo ownership means no more trimming the front lawn, cleaning the pool, or shoveling the snow.


Cons


•    Extra Fees

Owning a condo can be a liability as well as an asset. In return for the beautiful landscaping and pristine surroundings, you will need to pay condo fees. The exact amount of these fees will usually be determined by your board, but you can expect to pay at least a few hundred dollars extra each month.


•    Lack of Privacy 

A condo is first and foremost a community of people. As such, you will encounter other members of the community at various points in time throughout the day and night. If you would prefer to avoid this and instead lead a more private life, a condo may not be right for you.


In Closing


Finding the perfect home to buy is never easy. However, by carefully reviewing the pros and cons outlined in this article, you will be better able to decide if purchasing a condo is the right decision for you.


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There are two options available when seeking a new home for your family. You can purchase a resale (meaning an older home that has already been lived in) or a new construction. While each choice provides a distinct set of pros and cons, purchasing a newly constructed home offers numerous comparative benefits. Below are just 10 of the primary benefits. 


1. Customization


New constructions allow homeowners to customize their homes with a variety of options prior to moving in, if they purchase during the pre-construction phase.


2. No Extra Work


Homeowners need not put in any work prior to move in. Resales, on the other hand, often require at least a minimal amount of renovations prior to move in.


3. Modern Appliances


A new construction will be equipped with modern appliances and conveniences, whereas resales may need to be updated. For example, most new homes are created with dishwashers, which are not often seen in older homes.


4. Stays Repair Free


Your home should be repair free for a minimum of two years. If anything does break during the first few years, most items will still be under warranty. 


5. Eco-Friendlier


With better construction materials that have yet to see the effects of time and weather, new constructions are much eco-friendlier. The environmentally-friendly new materials could help lower your utility bills for years to come. 


6. Modern Technologies


New constructions often come already equipped with modern technologies or 'gadgets.' Modern technologies could include a home security system, geothermal flooring, solar paneling, or smart home technologies, to name a few.


7. New Home Smell


As strange as it may seem, new constructions come with that new home smell and feel, which is distinctly appealing and satisfying. There is also the benefit of no 'strange' smells from age, as might come with a resale.


8. Higher Resale Price


If you decide to sell your home a few years down the road, a new construction will sell at a considerably higher price than older homes. Each time an older home is sold (unless it has undergone a full remodeling), it typically sells at a slightly lower price.


9. Community Features


New homes are often built in communities, which offer a lot of extra amenities and security features. Examples of extra amenities might include a pool, club house, security gates, game room for children, and many other things that will  provide convenient, safe areas for yourself or children to pass their free time.


10. Founding a Neighborhood


Many new homes are being built in areas where a neighborhood is not yet established. Being among the first to move in means you have the distinct privilege of helping found a safe neighborhood for your children (and their new friends) to grow up in.


Conclusion


Choosing to purchase a newly constructed house has several distinct benefits when compared to the alternative of purchasing a resale. This article discusses just 10 of the primary benefits homeowners may experience during their home buyer's journey. This list is not, however, all inclusive and each unique family (and home) will come with it's own unique benefits.

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If you're throwing your hard-earned money away on rent each month, putting that same amount towards your own home could be an incredible advantage. However, it's also imperative to consider whether you can afford the costs associated with a mortgage, property insurance and potential repairs that might be necessary in the future.


Buying a starter home doesn't have to feel like an overwhelming experience. Here are some things to think about that might help you make a more informed decision.


Evaluating Local Prices


It's not uncommon for home prices to be unusually high in some areas, but to be relatively low within a specific city. It can be tempting to move forward with purchasing a home even in the midst of spiking prices in an effort to ensure that prices won't rise even higher. In some cases, higher market trends might be an indication that a downturn is within the near future. While the general rule of thumb for investing is to 'buy low, sell high,' forecasting the right timing to invest in the real estate market isn't always as straightforward. The most efficient way to evaluate local housing prices is to consult with a local Realtor who has adequate experience. This is an important step that could help to safeguard your financial investment.


Assess Your Personal Goals


How long do you anticipate staying in your home? Do you have plans to relocate within the near future, or are you looking to settle down for a decade or longer? What goals do you have for your new home? If you're planning on raising your family there, you should be relatively protected even during the midst of a fluctuating market. For example, even if interest rates spike a year after you've purchased a new home and it triggers a drop in demand, it most likely won't have an adverse effect on your home's equity if you're planning to stay there indefinitely. On the flip side, if you decide to move a year after you've purchased and interest rates begin to soar, you could take a financial hit.


How Much of a Down Payment Can You Afford?


Normally the minimum down payment will come from your own savings and resources, however you may receive a gift from an immediate relative that can be used as well.  The amount your down payment will affect the price of the home you can purchase, the size of your mortgage and your monthly payment, and as well the amount of insurance you will pay.  Work with a mortgage professional, they have expertise in these areas and can advise you!


The Bottom Line


The number of years that you plan to live in your home will make a significant impact on whether you might benefit more from renting for a while or not. Determining whether it's the right timing to buy might not have as much to do with the economy as it has to do with your personal goals and budget.

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Making money in any real estate venture is a difficult task, and many people don't have the skills (or the stomach) for flipping houses. An alternative to this intrinsically risky activity is to purchase a property for the long term and rent it out. These types of income properties are becoming more and more common and the following article will touch on why income properties make so much sense.


Low Interest Rates

Interest rates are currently at historic lows, and the central bank does not appear to be interested in increasing the rate any time soon. These rates allow investors to finance their properties more easily and allow them to offset a great deal of their reduced housing expenses via the income generated by renting the property. It is important to consider other costs associated with the property such as utilities, insurance, maintenance, and property taxes, but by renting out your property you are effectively having someone else pay down your mortgage for you.

Using Equity for Future Redevelopment

Holding an income property as a long-term investment means that over time you will be paying down a significant amount of your mortgage while, potentially, seeing appreciation in your property value. This long-term strategy could leave you in a position for future redevelopment of your property using mostly income (or equity) generated from your property.

Tax Implications

Depending on your local taxing jurisdiction there are likely some tax implications to consider before renting out a property. It's important to understand the details related to property taxes, income taxes, and capital gains taxation. It is also crucial to understand what expense items are income-tax deductible. In many cases you will be able to deduct mortgage interest, utilities, property taxes, property management fees, and many other items. Some areas also permit investors to incorporate, allowing them to be taxed at the corporate tax rate while they pay themselves dividends. Each situation is different but incorporating can result in a corporate income-tax rate significantly lower than a person income-tax rate.

Grants from Municipalities

The need for higher density is a major priority for many local jurisdictions, and grant programs are becoming a popular way for municipalities to encourage investors and homeowners to add suites to their properties. These grants will not typically cover the entire cost of constructing a suite at your property, but some municipalities offer incentives of up to 25% of the construction expense.

Gaining Equity by Adding a Suite

Adding a rental unit, or multiple rental units, will typically add substantial equity to your property. This means that on top of having an investment that is generating income on a monthly basis, you will also have extra equity available if you do decide to sell your property in the short term.

It is important to remember that as a rental investment, your property doesn't need to be renovated to a brand new level. Sweat equity is great, but try to keep costs reasonable, and maintain building quality at a level comparable to the local market, and expect to see some depreciation over the life of your investment.

Long-Term Returns

The biggest benefit of holding a long-term income property is the return you will see over your investment horizon. Your property will produce income regularly, and hopefully appreciate in value, and this could all be happening while you're paying down some form of housing debt. For these reasons, the returns an investor can expect to see from their purchase or development of an income property have the potential to far outperform most other investments of a similar size.

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Data is supplied by Pillar 9™ MLS® System. Pillar 9™ is the owner of the copyright in its MLS®System. Data is deemed reliable but is not guaranteed accurate by Pillar 9™.
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