We are just 2 weeks into summer vacation for the kiddos, but Westchase home buyers already have their eye on the start of the new school year. The high quality public schools have always attracted new residents to the Westchase area. This year is no different.
In the summertime, we see a lot of buyers from out of state. Many relocation clients have a limited amount of time to find a house, sign a contract, and set up financing. It can make for a very stressful house hunting trip.
This year in particular, the out of state buyers have an extra challenge to overcome: low inventory. I have been saying this for months, and our local buyers are very aware of it. Out of state buyers however, have been hearing for years how depressed the Florida real estate market is. Imagine their surprise when they show up ready to buy a gorgeous Westchase home and they only have 4 that match their criteria to pick from!
Then they put an offer on one and get out bid by another buyer…only 3 to pick from.
That is when panic sets in. They start looking at their mental calendar.
“If I find a house by the end of June then that will give me 45 days to close…one week to move down…school starts the next day!” Aaack! I need a house!
If you are a local buyer or an out of state buyer, here are some tips that may help you navigate your way through this crazy home buying season.
1) Take an extra step with the lender. While you are waiting for a new house to
come on the market, send all of the required financial information to your lender. This will allow you to save some time during the escrow period and hopefully close faster. Your lender can then provide a pre-qualification letter that carries a little more weight than the typical generic pre-approval .
2) Look outside of your criteria. I am not one to recommend to my clients that
they settle for a house they do not like. But, as my mom used to always say, “Sometimes the dress looks better on you than it does on the hanger. Try it on Melanie.” She was right in that respect and the same is true with houses. Look at the homes you thought were too big, too small, too pink, too dirty, or too carpety. As I love to say to my clients, these imperfections are “opportunities for improvement.”
3) Find a Realtor that very clearly understands what YOU want. If you don’t find
anything during your trip, be open to letting your Realtor scout homes for you
while you are gone. Over the past few months I have done many video tours
of homes for my out of state buyers. I am certainly no Scorsese, but I try to be very thorough and honest about the condition. My favorite video included me walking through a spider web and 20 seconds of the camera flying around as I tried de-web myself. It was very Blair Witch Project, but the clients I did that video for are currently under contract on a house they didn’t see until they came down for inspections. It works, but you have to trust your Realtor.
4) Make your first offer a strong one. If the house is not priced too high, don’t
be afraid to come in close to list price or at list price if there are multiple offers. Beyond price, make your escrow deposit higher than normal. It shows how serious you are. Offer to get over “hurdles” fast. I’m talking about inspections and appraisals. Write in your offer that you will do both within a shorten amount of time so you and the sellers can overcome some common escrow period issues early in the game.
For the out of state buyers frustrated with Westchase real estate right now, please stay patient. The reason there are so few homes available is because people love living here. You have chosen well and once you move in, you will find out for yourself why no one wants to leave!
Melanie Atkinson is a Westchase area Realtor with The Wood Team at Coldwell Banker. She can be reached at 813-368-6084 or Melanie@woodteamrealty.com
Follow Melanie on Twitter @CBMelanieA or “Like” the Wood Team on Facebook