I often run into people who ask about foreclosures. I always wonder why. They seem to have decided that a foreclosure is like a gift in some way. Will it be like a new built house in a terrific neighborhood that is for sale at half the value? Then, can they have it for even less, because everyone knows they can make a "low ball " offer, right?
In reality, in the Western New York area where I live and work, there just aren't that many foreclosures. According to the news, the number, which was always low, is now 27% less than it previously was.
And what are these treasures like? Recently I have shown 3 foreclosures to customers who called me just to see these particular places. Two of the three had foundation problems, with standing water in the basement. The third was on a slab and had holes in the slab floor of the house that you could see the dirt below through. Other houses I have seen in the past were partially "rehabbed" and would need total re-dos at costs that far surpass the price of a neighboring home. I have seen paint literally falling off the walls and ceiling, places that had the metals stripped out, and once beautiful homes ruined by neglect and long term emptiness.
Can you get them at cents on the dollar? No, that's unlikely. Te bank or financial company that now owns the building wants to get its money out of it, and they do not have to sell it if your offered price is not what they want.
So, what is the real treasure to look for if you want an affordable house? I recommend houses that are being sold from an estate.
Older people may not have kept up with the latest decorating trends, but they usually have kept the mechanics up. The house may need painting and new carpet, new kitchen counter top, and some new light fixtures, but the garage door probably has an automatic opener, and the plumbing has been maintained. You probably will get a newer electric service, newer furnace, and established landscaping even if you need to replace the bathroom tile or shower head. Plus, there might be beautiful wood trim or cut glass windows that you will never find in a new build.
So check out the estate houses that are for sale. You can buy a home that is structurally sound, and only need to make cosmetic changes to make your new home the way you want it.
One of the greatest things about Western New York is that we have 4 distinct seasons. We love our warm, sunny summer, our picture perfect, snowy winter, and our crisp, golden fall- but when does Spring start? And even more important to Realtors and home buyers and sellers- when is Spring? I mean that time indicated in the expression, "We'll wait til Spring to put our house on the market" or " maybe we will list in Spring".
You can't blame the ground hog this year. Both Dunkirk Dave and Punxsutawney Phil told us spring would be early. And indeed, it's early March and the Spring market is starting NOW. Buyers who spent the winter casually looking at homes with no need to decide what they want, are now finding the place they want to see again is Under Contract. Sold signs are showing up all over town and the supply of places to show prospective buyers in many categories and areas is limited.
So why is it a good time to list your home right now? Mortgage rates are still low, and mortgages are available. Serious buyers are going to decide on a house soon. And most important, houses are selling at slightly higher prices than last year. And the competition is less- at least until everyone else realizes it IS Spring!