Why Fall & Winter Are the Perfect Times to Buy a Home

Most people think they should wait until spring to get a good deal on a home. However, there are four reasons why fall and winter are actually the best seasons for home buyers.

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There are four main reasons why the fall and winter are the best times to buy a home rather than waiting for spring.

First of all, interest rates are low and money is cheap right now. Rates are hovering around 4%; if rates went up by 1%, the monthly payments for a $100,000 home would go up by $100. A 1% rate increase would mean that the payments for a $200,000 home would go up by $200 a month. To put that into perspective, you would be paying an extra $2,400 a year and an extra $72,000 over the life of a 30-year loan.

Secondly, when you buy in the fall or winter, you will face less competition. Fall means new inventory comes on the market and old inventory is repositioned. Typically, there are fewer buyers in the fall because they think they will get better deals in the spring. In reality, though, the opposite is true.

Fall and winter are actually the best times to purchase a home.

Sellers are also more serious in the fall. Most people who sell in the fall have to sell their houses, whereas some spring sellers might just be testing the market to see what they can get. Lowball offers and multiple offer situations typically aren’t an issue in the fall.

Finally, there are a lot of flexible loan programs available on the market for buyers right now. Some loan programs only require a 3% down payment; others go up to 20% down. If you qualify for a VA loan, you can purchase a new home with no money out of pocket.

If you start looking for a home in today’s market, you won’t be disappointed. If you have any questions about navigating the fall market or about real estate in general, give us a call or send us an email. We would be happy to help you!

What’s Happening with Real Estate in the Cleveland Area?

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Today we will be giving you brief market updates for some pockets of the Cleveland area. We’ll be focusing on Summit, Medina, And Cuyahoga Counties.

To start, let’s look at Cuyahoga Falls. There are 146 properties and there are 90 homes under contract, which is way up over last year. There is only 2.9 months of inventory available, but that is a common problem all across the nation. In Stow, we have 67 homes on the market, which is down from last year. Nearly 36 homes closed last month, and the average days on market is 64. There are 91 properties on the market in Hudson, which is down from last year by about 16%. There are also 50 homes under contract and 31 closed properties. The average days on market is holding steady at 108, and there is only a 2.9 month supply of homes.

It’s a great time to be a seller in Cuyahoga Falls, Stow, or Hudson. Inventory is really low and sellers can take full advantage of this. This also means that sellers can kind of demand their price without much pushback from buyers.

Let’s take a look at Medina County now. In Brunswick we are in a seller’s market, and the days on market is currently at 95. That’s a little higher than usual, but this could be due to poor pricing.

It’s a great time to be a seller in Cuyahoga Falls, Stow, or Hudson

The City of Medina has 83 properties and 43 of them have gone under contract. Nearly 22 of those properties closed. The days on market is sitting at 111 and inventory levels are right at 3.8%.

Strongsville is actually in a neutral market right now. There are 169 properties, 89 went under contract, and 56 actually sold. The days on market is at 74 days and they have a 3 month supply of homes.

In Parma there is a seller’s market with 216 properties on the market, 144  under contract, and 88 properties went under contract. Inventory is below 200 homes, which is far below the usual level of 400 homes. Homes are selling in an average of 86 days with only 2.5 months of inventory left.

If you have any further questions about the market in Cleveland, please don’t hesitate to contact us. We can provide you with all the necessary information.

What You Need to Know About the Northeast Ohio Home Buying Process

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Today, we’ll discuss the dos and don’ts of purchasing a home. Don Jarecki from First Federal Lakewood is here to offer expert advice on the home buying process. 

What should a buyer do to get to the closing table?
One of the first things you should do is check your credit score. Contact a lender and go through the pre-approval process. Once you determine that your credit is okay, they’ll allow you to purchase a house. You’ll find out what price range you should be in and what kind of down payment you will need. After that, talk with your real estate agent about what kind of home you’re looking for. 

What are some of the documents that buyers should prepare to get approved for a loan? 
You will need: one month of pay stubs; two years of tax returns and W2s; your last two months of bank statements; retirement and mutual funds; and valid photo ID. You may also need divorce decrees and bankruptcy documents. That documentation should suffice for any lender out there. 

What’s the difference between a pre-approval and pre-qualification? 
Here, you provide your information to a lender over the phone informally, without documentation. A pre-qualification isn’t as strong as a pre-approval, because a pre-approval requires documentation. 

A lot of buyers come in with online pre-quals. Are those accurate? 
For online pre-qualifications, you’re inputting information and no one can verify it. If your income or assets are entered incorrectly, you won’t receive accurate information.

What shouldn’t a buyer do when in the home buying process?
Don’t make any major purchases before or after you sign a purchase agreement. If you buy a car and you haven’t bought the home yet, you could jeopardize your home sale altogether.  Additionally, refrain from any large deposits into your checking or savings account because the lender will have to document that. Also, don’t move money around between checking and savings, because that will make things confusing for the lender to document sufficient funds for closing. 

What’s the biggest delay in a loan?
Documenting funds to close is probably the biggest difficulty for lenders today. Buyers have a tough time coming up with funds, and documenting that is the toughest job for the lender. 

Are there any other tips to help during the home buying process?  
Whatever your lender asks you to do, whatever documentation your lender asks you to provide, get it to them the day before they want it. The sooner you provide information, the better. Don’t waste time asking why the lender needs that information; they are trying to get you to the closing table. Just get them the paperwork. That will keep the loan process moving smoothly and get you to the end with the least amount of hassle. 

If you have any questions for Don, you can reach him at (216) 347-3900, or email him at djarecki@ffl.net. As always, if you have any questions for us, give us a call or send us an email. We would be happy to help you!

What Do Interest Rate Increases Mean for You?

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We all know that interest rates have gone up recently, but how will this change actually affect you? Today I have Don Jarecki of First Federal of Lakewood. He is my mortgage expert, and he'll be helping to explain what you can expect from these recent changes.

Don says that in the short term, it won't have too big of an effect on average home buyers and home sellers. However, by the end of the year, we can expect at least another increase of 0.25% to 0.5%. This is not as drastic as people might think, but it does add up over a 30-year loan. This is why we urge you to lock in a low rate now if you've been waiting to buy. If you've already been qualified for a $200,000 home loan, this small increase in interest rates will impact your affordability.

For home sellers in the area, if you've been wanting to refinance, then now is the time to do so. Interest rates will only continue to increase, so if you're planning on staying in your home for a while (3-5 more years), then we would recommend refinancing.

Please don't hesitate to come to us with any of your questions or concerns. We look forward to helping you!