Don't Waste Your Money: Hot housing market survival tips - Toledo News Now, Breaking News, Weather, Sports, Toledo

Don't Waste Your Money: Hot housing market survival tips

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(Toledo News Now) -

Mortgage rates have taken a big jump in the past few weeks. You might think that would slow down the housing market, but just the opposite is happening.

If you are thinking of buying or selling a house in the near future, you may be stunned at what you discover when you jump in. The slow market of the past five years has disappeared in desirable communities. It's now a whole new competitive game that one Ohio family was surprised to find. 

Homes Selling Before Buyers Can Make Offer 

Andy and Allison Sathe have finally found a home for themselves and their 2-year-old daughter. But it was a rough spring because other homes they wanted sold before they were even able to make an offer. 

"Houses that looked appealing, you'd see them on websites and they'd be gone within two or three days, and you'd really have to move quickly," Andy Sathe said. 

That's the realty in 2013. Homes during the "buyer's market" of two years ago that would have languished for months, are now selling in days, if not hours.

Why The Hot Market 

Realtor Lori Wellinghoff says there are several reasons, the main one being that there's currently not enough supply for the pent-up demand. 

"There is not enough inventory to satisfy the universe of capable, ready, hungry buyers for a property to call their own," explained Wellinghoff. 

Other reasons:

-A short supply of brand new homes, with few homes built between 2008 and 2011

-Rising mortgage rates that are forcing many fence-sitters to make a move this summer

What You Can Do 

Wellinghoff has some great tips for getting an edge in this fierce seller's market, something we haven't seen since 2007. 

1. First, you must be preapproved and ready to go. 

"You need to be ready to act very quickly, and by ready, you need to have your prequalification documentation ready to go on a moment's notice," she said. "Sellers will not wait for you to get your finances in order, when they have another offer ready to go." 

2. Forget low-balling, which was considered normal a few years ago. In a hot area, you need to offer close to asking price. 

If it's your dream home, consider offering the asking price up front, so you don't get edged out by another buyer. 

3. Don't make special requests, such as asking for a roof to be fixed or old carpeting to be replaced. That worked two years ago, but won't work now. 

4. If the market is super-competitive in your area, you can't ask the seller to wait for you to sell your old home. 

"In days of yore," Wellinghoff said, "you might have said contingent on selling of my existing home. Those type of contingencies will not let you be competitive with other buyers." 

5. Offer a large earnest money deposit. That puts you ahead of other buyers, and shows you are serious. 

6. Finally, enlist an experienced realtor who can find listings before they hit the market. They can often show you a house a day or two before the sign and MLS listing are posted for the world to see. 

That's how the Sathes got lucky. 

"We had this house presented to us before it was even on the market" they said, "so we think it's really important to get a good agent." 

With mortgage rates going up, Wellinghoff says even more buyers may jump in this year before rates soar higher. She suggests making the best offer you can.

Advice For Sellers

Thinking of selling?

It's the best time in five years to sell, but Wellinghoff warns that prices are still down 20 percent from their 2007 peaks in many areas.

If you overprice your home, it won't sell because buyers know an overpriced home when they see it. Forget about what it was worth six years ago, Wellinghoff says. Price it according to today's market.

Hottest Areas Even Hotter 

Neighborhoods close to downtown metropolises are especially red hot right now. Many young buyers want no more than a 15 to 20-minute commute to work. 

If you are interested in an area like that, you'll want a good realtor who can tip you off to upcoming homes for sale, and make sure your offer is the best possible.     

That way you don't waste your money.

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