Another buying a house question

DH and I are presently in an apartment, which has just turned into condos. Our lease isn’t up til July, and the landlords/people in charge told us we could continue to rent afterwards as long as no one bought the apartment. However, our apartment is small and we are expecting in April, so we are definitely looking into buying a house, or at least a townhouse, by the time our lease is up, because our small one bedroom apartment would cost a whopping 150-170, which wouldn’t even have a place for our baby.

The question I have is, should we start looking now, in the fall/winter, or wait until after the baby? DH is a teacher so he’ll be off starting in June which would make it very convenient for moving, but MIL has been pushing for us to start looking because the housing market is much less expensive during this time, or so she tells us. I’m not sure that it matters, seeing as we live in a very expensive area that is considered one of the top places people desire to live in the U.S., but I don’t want to wait if it’s true that the housing market is cheaper now than in the spring/summer. Thanks so much for your advice!

Because of my husbands job, we have moved a lot in the States and in Canada. Many people, if given a choice, would rather not uproot their children during the school year. Also, if folks have a house on the market this time of year, they are anxious to sell and get moved themselves before the holidays. Depending where you are, you might get a better buy. Crux of what I am saying, I’m with your MIL.

well i think it would also depend on if your apartment complex would let you out of the lease early since they are now for sell.

Start looking now why should you pay off somebody else property when you could be using that money to pay off your own property.

What if they do find somebody and you are given a limited time to look for a house and taking anything because you are underpressure to find another place or you end up going to rent another property.

Take MIL advice start looking that end of the world do they now have houses on show that you and hubby can go and see on the weekend. And also it gives you time to start search for a house that you guys both want. And also with the baby on the way you do not need added stress. But also while search for a house pray for guidance.

Good luck and God Bless.

I’m with your MIL also. You tend to have better bargaining power in the winter months. Maybe at least you could talk to a few realtors and do some research on what exactly is happening in the market in your area…it’s rapidly changing everywhere.

DH an I were househunting last year and the problem that we ran into was that the selection in the winter was pretty crappy since people tend to wait until spring to put their house on the market. But we were also limiting ourselves to one small town so the kids didn’t have to change schools. Just something to keep in mind…

The more time you spend looking, the more likely you will find something affordable that meets your needs.

Treat the house market like a giant garage sale.

You have money in your pocket and can buy anything, but you want to shop carefully and get the best deal for your money.

Real estate is very tricky; there are all kinds of local conditions unique to each area. Learn as much as you can.

Talk with everyone. Waitresses, cops on the beat, barbers, fruit vendors, carpenters, everybody.

I say start looking now because you need to familiarize yourself with what is out there. But make up your minds you will not buy anything for the first couple of months. Learn all you can about seasonal pricing trends in your area, keeping in mind that both buying and selling real estate agents are anxious to have you buy NOW rather than later and at a higher price rather than a lower price.

Once you have a feel for the market you can decide if it’s better to buy now or later. And you will know if an especially good deal comes along that might make you move up your plans.

I was a Realtor. Buy now. MIL is right. Get pre-qualifyed before you look so you are not looking at stuff you cant afford.Use a realtor that works primarily with buyers. Dont sign an agreement with the realtor if he or she has such a form in your state to use them exclusively. Agents will try to if they can.
I’m happy for you that you are expecting a bundle of joy soon! Great news!:slight_smile:

How do we go about finding a realtor who deals primarily with buyers?

PS- Never buy a house from the listing agent on a property. Never.

Dual agency can work out , but it is not wise IMHO and you need someone on your side, not the sellers side. Cause at the end of the day, no matter how ethical the listing agent may be in the process- you are shortchanging yourself of representation. Please dont buy through a listing agent.

Many agents will advertise themselves as a buyers agent. It means nothing. The bottom line is how many buyers has that agent dealt with-
some states have special designations for such agents that have taken more educational classes in buyer representation, not necc. actual experience!
So, IMHO, get a reputable agency and talk to the managing broker. They will either make a reccomendation from their staff or they will work with you themselves. They can give you figures on the agents production as well.
Some agents will actually give you a list of all sales - I did.

Good luck,
Remember to pray about all this too.

Regarding housing trends, it is true that in general the summer is a busier time for real estate. If you are looking in an “off season” then you might have an advantage of less competition for the home you like, and you may also find yourself with more leverage regarding price if a seller doesn’t want their house to sit on the market indefinitely. I wouldn’t say that houses are “cheaper” in the winter, but it may work out that way in particular instances due to fewer buyers.

I would start the process now-- first get pre-approved by a lender such as a credit union. It makes the entire process so much simpler.

Research the taxes, average utility bills, school districts, etc, and narrow your search to one or two areas.

Then, get with a realtor that you sign as a “buyer’s realtor” and start looking. Start looking for houses that are well below what you are approved for since that would likely stretch your dollars too much. Look and look and look some more-- but don’t look at any houses that are above the price you have set in your mind because those that are above your price range will make the ones in your price range much less appealing by comparison. Best to not even look, in my experience.

You may find your house right away, and it may take you several months. It would be good to start laying the foundation now and not be in a hurry when your lease is about to expire. You don’t want to be forced into a rash decision.

I highly recommend the book 100 Questions Every First-Time Home Buyer Should Ask. My dad gave it to me when I was looking to buy my first house and it was very good.

It depends on the laws of the state.

In Florida all the representation information MUST be disclosed.
Dual agency’s aren’t even ALLOWED.

And often, when a buyer shows interest a listing broker will switch to a “transaction broker”, making the representation a non-issue… no fiduciary obligations exist.

You really need to look into the real estate laws of your particular state.

Get recommendations from family, friends, coworkers, etc. Then ask for and check references. A realtor can be a seller’s agent, a buyer’s agent, or both. It depends on how your contract is spelled out. The buyer does not pay either realtor, that comes from the seller at closing through the commission they pay their listing agent.

The buyer does not need a contract with a buyers agent in my state. They do try to get buyers to sign one though. It is optional. I reccomend NOT signing one if your state does not require a contractual relationship with the buyers agent.

I dont care what state you live in I would not buy as a buyer from the listing agent. No way. My concern is not fiduciary. Its lack of representation for you in this event.

It is an issue. The buyer is not getting representation this way. I am not concerned with fiduciary obligations in this case. I think she needs representation from her own agent of choice.

You don’t need a contract with a buyer’s agent in Illinois.

Also, definitely buy now. Chicago real estate is very slow and it is a tremendous buyer’s market right now. You have a further advantage because you will be able to bid on homes without having to worry about selling your current home. A seller may take a lower offer from you because he knows that the deal won’t fall through because you can’t sell your current house.

If you look at a home listed by your realtor don’t allow the agent to represent both parties. It’s legal in Illinois, but ultimately the realtor’s real interest is in selling the home for as much as possible. If this comes up get your own agent to represent only you.

If you don’t mind my asking what area are you looking in Illinois?

I would use caution answering that question IMHO. Stick to PMs…

Another tip: before you make an offer on the house go to the agents office and have him/her run a search on the property. Get them to do a CMA of their own (what they feel the list price would be based on the comparitive market anayisis) Market time, if it was listed before and did not sell, ect.,
Call the village/city and ask for the building department (or other named office that handles permits)
Fill out a freedom of information act form and get a permit history on the prop.
From this you might find they had a repair job done and can view the inspection reports upon request and for a fee for copies.
Some people dont get permits for work they should, but most do.
Also, you want to be aware of any outstanding issues if any with any permits. (I have worked in local government in the suburbs- its a nightmare!)

You can also call the local assesors office to get tax info and a whole lot more good stuff you would never realize you can get.

If you are looking at an area that is unincorporated update your post -I’ve got a list of beware items…and I’ve got some horror stories for you on that.

I am so glad I dont do the real estate thing anymore! IF you really are a good agent- its more work than people realize. Much more.
Personally, after what I know- I dont look forward to making any moves. I would go crazy double checking my agent on everything. No one would want to work with me.

We’re currently in the west suburbs…Naperville currently. I’d LOVE to move out where there’s land and it’s cheaper but he works in the city (as do I, although I’ll be quitting come baby time :slight_smile: ), so it’s impossible to move farther out, seeing as his commute is already an hour. We’d like to move farther in, but from what I’ve seen, the farther in, the more expensive.

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