WESTCHESTER COUNTY, N.Y. -- Houlihan Lawrence Associate Real Estate Broker Susan Strawgate Code hopes home-buyers looking for the right house continue their pursuit deep into fall. There are a lot of good reasons, says Code, who works out of Briarcliff Manor and also covers Ossining, Pleasantville, Croton and surrounding communities.
She cited an industry newsletter, Keeping Current Matters , which detailed four reasons why potential buyers should continue looking. Two of the major reasons not to wait to buy that are mentioned include prices, which will continue to rise; and mortgage rates, which are projected to increase. For those who think continuing to rent is the way to go, they need to realize that either way buyers will be paying a mortgage.
“Most people are paying a mortgage if they’re renting,’’ Code said. “They’re paying off the landlord’s mortgage, and not getting any deductions. It’s not necessarily getting you ahead. That money you’re spending on rent won’t give you any more buying power. Waiting is a risky prospect.”
She also frequently tells clients about the benefits of moving into a new home before Thanksgiving and the holidays in December and January. “A house is more than an investment,’’ Code said. “It’s where you raise your family, where you let the dog run in the yard and where you celebrate milestones. Children love to celebrate in homes that they’re going to be in for a long time. For children, a year is a long time to wait. A kindergartner is a 4th grader in no time.”
Code also says buyers shopping for a new home have other reasons to act quickly.
“You have your most motivated sellers if you buy now,’’ she said. “Houses on the market now may have been on the market for a long time. You have sellers who have incentive to make a deal before the Thanksgiving to New Year’s lull. You may also get tax incentives such as mortgage deductions before the calendar rolls over.”
A final consideration for potential purchasers is the unpredictable winter. There may be houses on the market in January and February, but getting to them, as many people saw last winter, can be challenging.
“Last year waiting until January meant waiting until April,’’ she said. “It was such a harsh winter. Nothing happened in January through March. Buyers didn’t wake up on a snowy winter day and say, 'I’ll go house hunting today.'”
To start a home search, Code recommends shoppers develop an “ABC” list. The A list has what they want from their wish list home and includes all of their requirements, like the perfect number of bedrooms, a 2-car garage, an ideal lot size and specified town or school district. The B list is what the buyer does not want. And the C list contains the compromise parameters. “They might want a fireplace, but maybe they’ll say they can live without it,’’ Code said. “If it’s a couple buying, it’s good to get them together to look at properties so they can discuss things that they might not have considered about what the other wants.”
Code says there’s still time to secure a new home for the holidays, but potential buyers have to get going now.
“I call fall the second spring,’’ Code said. “People start looking after Labor Day and continue until Thanksgiving. It’s not as busy as spring, but there are people who will be moving in the fall.”
Contact Code at 914-762-7200 ext. 304, 914-715-4121 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.