We’ve had several clients recently buy homes long before they thought they would. These clients came in for meetings and told us that they wouldn’t be buying for at least a year. Four months later, they’re in a new home. We’re seeing this happen time and again so we thought we’d take a moment to examine this trend of buying a home before you planned on doing so.
Once buyers start thinking about a move and talking to a Realtor, the house hunting process tends to speed up. Buyers begin to envision themselves in their new neighborhood or city and in their new space. They get excited about the thought of more (or less) space or perhaps a more urban lifestyle. Once they start touring homes, they begin to realize just how much they want (and/or need) to be in a new home.
Why is it happening so much now?
Historically, we see the spring market really kick off President’s Day weekend and sometimes even as early as MLK weekend.
We think the reason is twofold. First, is economics 101. Major economic indicators continue to be strong. Additionally, the Fed is likely to raise interest rates in the coming months. People thinking of making a move have accelerated their plans to do so.
Another key factor is very low housing inventory in the D.C. market. House hunters are jumping on properties that fit the bill, knowing that competition is only going to intensify in the months ahead.
We had two sets of recent clients buying a home before they had planned for the first time. During those initial meetings, both couples said they planned to wait a year or so before buying. However, once they got the ball rolling by talking to a lender, setting up searches to start looking at options, etc. their excitement (and seriousness) intensified.
Both couples began actively touring neighborhoods and properties and were in new homes within three months of our initial meetings.
Another couple, parents of past clients of ours, were relocating to our area from out of state to be closer to family. Before doing so, they planned to sell their out-of-state home first and make the move to the D.C. area in a year. While they were in town for the holidays, they came into the office for a meeting and initial strategy session. Sue took them on a neighborhood orientation tour so they could scope out the various neighborhoods in their price range near their grandkids. On that tour, they fell in love with a home that suited their needs perfectly. The ended up going for it – and getting it! As a result, they bought before they sold, which was not their initial plan. However, they ended up with the perfect home and are now able to spend lots of additional time with their grandchildren.
The Bottom Line
Whatever your target time frame is for a move, preparing early is the key. First, talk with a Realtor (and lender) early in the process. We can’t stress this enough if considering buying a home before you planned on doing so. It will position you to move quickly when you do find the right property. By looking closely at searches and listings your agent sends, you’ll begin to narrow in on what area and home styles you like the best. Perhaps most importantly, signing on with an agent early will provide you access to properties long before they hit the market. We’ve helped several clients buy (and sell) homes before they ever went live. Working with an agent is particularly important in a tight and competitive housing market like our current one.
If you are thinking of a move, please reach out today. We’d love to get the conversation started and help you find your next home.
Allison Goodhart DuShuttle is with Compass Real Estate. In 2017, the Goodhart Group helped 120 clients achieve their real estate goals. Led by Sue and Allison Goodhart, they have been named a Top Agent by both Washingtonian and Northern Virginia magazines. Allison can be reached at 703-362-3221 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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