January is the month named after the Roman god Janus, the one with two faces, one looking backward and the other looking forward. As you look back on 2014, I hope you remember lots of happy things that happened during the year. As you look forward to 2015, I wish you an even better year, filled with health and happy times with your friends and families.
If you’re planning to buy a house in 2015, I can help. If you’re moving out of the area or out of state, I’ll refer you to a local expert in the town(s) you’re considering. If you’re looking in the Rumson-Fair Haven area, I’m the local expert you want to talk to.
Either way, when you’re buying a house you should use your head as well as your heart. Ask your local expert to give you current LOCAL information about the 4 key, objective real estate indicators- if you’ve been following my posts you know what they are, and why they’re important. In addition, ask the local expert to drill down and give you some other numbers. What’s the average price per square foot for a home in the local market? Make sure you’re comparing “apples to apples”. If you’re looking at a waterfront property, you want to know the price per square foot for waterfront properties only. If you’re looking at new construction, you want to know the price per square foot for new construction only.
If you find a house you really like, ask your local expert to give you what Realtors® call a “Comparable Market Analysis” or CMA. Normally this is a study a Realtor® would do for a Seller in order to determine the fair market value of a home (or the price the Seller might expect to receive when selling the house). However, there’s no reason why you, as a Buyer, shouldn’t ask for a CMA before you submit an offer on a house. A CMA is just a look at the most recent sales of homes truly comparable to the property of interest. Ideally they should be sales within the last 6 months of homes of similar age, style and location as the property being evaluated.
Remember, buying a home is a major investment, so you need to think like an investor. You wouldn’t buy a stock without doing some due diligence on the company, would you? If the Realtor® you’re working with doesn’t give you the objective LOCAL real estate data you need to make an informed decision, you need to find a better Realtor®.
Happy New Year!
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