A recent real estate survey reported that 27 percent of the home buyers during the fall season are first-time home buyers. Although spring is traditionally the peak season for real estate activity, this year's buyer's market should lead to a healthy spike in real estate activity this fall.
"For a prospective new homeowner, this fall's market is shaping up to be an opportunity to capitalize on a great blend of low rates, consistently low home prices and a recovering economy," said John L. Heithaus, chief marketing officer of Metropolitan Regional Information Systems Inc. ."First-time home buyer or not, all potential buyers can benefit from good information -- even in a buyer's market -- as they gear up to begin bidding on real estate."
To prepare potential home buyers for a busy fall market, MRIS has compiled the following tips:
1. Get connected: Most first-time buyers think that they understand their local market by reading daily headlines. While keeping abreast of market headlines is always a good idea, it's important to remember that real estate fluctuates from month-to- month and from one place to the next. If you are buying a home, get connected with a knowledgeable real estate professional.
2. Locate open houses: The real estate market will always be more competitive during peak seasons, but an advantage of the fall is that you will often encounter more open houses in an area as a result of cooler, more comfortable temperatures. So contact an agent for the best websites to find out where the open houses are in your area.
3. Catch a break: The 27 percent of potential first-time home buyers who are on the fence about whether to buy can be persuaded by year-end tax breaks -- including deductions for mortgage interest and property taxes -- they may be eligible for if they purchase a home and close their loan by the end of the year.
4. Get your credit in order: By choosing to buy a new home in the fall instead of the spring, home buyers benefit from a few additional months to ensure that their credit history, and score are in order. Buyers will need a score of 720 or higher to get the best mortgage rates available. Each of the nationwide consumer reporting companies -- Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion -- are required to provide you with a free copy of your credit report, at your request, once per year. To order, visit annualcreditreport.com.
5. Make time to save: It's a good idea to save enough money for six months of mortgage payments, as well as a minimum of 3.5 percent of the purchase price to cover the down payment and closing costs. First-time home buyers should also be prepared for less visible expenses, such as moving costs and home repairs, when saving for a home.
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