With the Housing Market Warming Up, Perhaps It’s Time for You to Jump In

If you’ve been wondering whether it’s time to dive into the housing market, a bunch of recent headlines seem to be saying, “C’mon in. The water’s fine.”

A lot of people have wanted to sell their home or buy a new home because of changes in their life. But they’ve been holding off because the housing market has presented so many challenges.  But look at these recent reports:

  • The U.S. Census Bureau reports that the number of building permits in February was the highest since October 2008 (although down a bit from January);
  • The closely watched S&P/Case-Shiller Report indicates that pricing was flat in the metro areas covered by the monthly survey.
  • While the number of existing homes sold during February was down slightly, the numbers were the second highest since May 2010.
  • Here inNew Jersey, appraiser Jeff Otteau, who has become the outstanding monitor of the state’s housing market, says the housing market is recovering. He said sales were up about 30 percent in January and February, compared with last year.
  • InMorrisCounty, according to Otteau, there were 266 sales in January and 320 in February. There were fewer homes available in February than January and more buyers for each seller.
  • Every news report has more and more economists and analysts speaking optimistically.

These ideas mean it’s a good time to take another look at the housing market. You’re not the only one who has been thinking about it. There are four or five years of pent-up demand ready to come into the housing market.

You still need to proceed carefully though.

If you bought your home in 2005 or 2006, it’s not the time to put your house on the market at what you paid for it. Housing prices are down and they’re going to stay down for a long time.

But if it’s time for you to get out of your home because you’ve outgrown it, because you don’t need that much space any more, because you are driving two hours a day to your new job or because its just time for a change, it’s worth talking to a Realtor. And if it’s time to get out of your house because you just can’t afford it, the odds are a little more on your side.

But move carefully and work with a professional. These are tricky times.

On the sales side, a Realtor can help you decide on the right price for your home. Overpriced homes aren’t going to sell. He or she can help you develop a sales strategy, decide how best to fix up and stage your home, and pick the right deal. If you’re upside down on your mortgage, make sure you pick an agent who is comfortable and successful with short sales and other methods of dealings with underwater mortgages.

On the buying side, a Realtor can help you decide how much you can afford, prequalify for a loan and decide what a reasonable offer is on a home you decide you like.

Spring is always a good time to buy or sell a home. This year is shaping up to be one of the best springs in a long time. If changing homes has been on your mind, maybe it’s time to jump into the market. At least c’mon in and take a look around!

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