Buying a Home: How to Research at the Local Market

Analyzing the Real Estate Market Before Buying a HomeWhen people first start researching information about buying a Brooklyn Park MN home, they could encounter a lot of details that may or may not fit. National statistics and regional data can give buyers a broad idea of what to expect. At the neighborhood level, these generalities may not be very useful. Home buyers need to learn how to study their local market for the kinds of homes they are likely to see, average prices, and how quickly they will need to make a decision. This guide helps them figure out where best to begin.

For informational purposes only. Always consult with a licensed real estate professional before proceeding with any real estate transaction.

Typical Property Features

Although the standard single-family home may have about four bedrooms and two bathrooms, regional differences can vary widely. Urban areas are more likely to offer multi-family housing in smaller units, while suburban and rural areas often have larger plots and bigger houses. Individual neighborhoods may vary further with some featuring luxury styles and others options for the budget-conscious. Buyers should start by looking at what kinds of homes are currently for sale in their chosen region. Consulting with a real estate agent can help buyers determine if their preferences are realistic in the neighborhoods they want and the price they can afford.

Recent Home Sales

Some states require home sale information to be published publicly, but others do not. Buyers can start to research home sales within the past year to get a feel for the competitiveness of the market. This is also a good way to see not just what the market is doing, but how it may change. Very few sales in the past six months or a year may indicate that buyers will have fewer options and might have to wait longer before they can finish a home purchase. A flood of sales in one neighborhood could be a sign for buyers to look elsewhere. Buyers may want to look at records for at least the past year and maybe two years, so that they can see how the time of year affects their buying options.

Sale Price vs. List Price

Buyers should understand that a list price may not be a meaningful number until the home is sold. Many sellers list the price far above what the home can actually garner in the sale. From the buyer's perspective, this is problematic because it is likely to affect them after they make an offer. Lenders usually will not approve a mortgage that is worth more than the appraised value. If the list price is fairly consistent with the final sale price for recent sales, buyers may feel more comfortable making a purchase offer at that amount. If the list price seems to be significantly inflated over what homes in the area are getting, people may have a compelling reason to offer less.

Length of Average Sale

Home sales are dependent on so many factors. The time it takes between an accepted offer often depends on the lender, and typically ranges from 30-60 days. Home buyers also want to look at the average time homes are listed before the sellers accept an offer. This tells them how long they may have to see a property and make a decision before it is likely to go to another buyer. Usually, there are seasonal differences in the time it takes to sell a home. As such, buyers need to factor this into their timing.

Knowing the local market helps buyers make better decisions about homes they may want. By doing this research in advance, people will be able to set buying goals they are likely to achieve.

For informational purposes only. Always consult with a licensed real estate professional before proceeding with any real estate transaction.

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