There’s no question. The Lehigh Valley housing market skyrocketed with activity with the aftermath of the pandemic and super-low interest rates. And while industry experts remained skeptical about how long it would last, here we are, two years later, still seeing the market bustle with buyers and sellers.
So, once you’ve made the decision to officially list your property, what do you need to know about today’s market? And more importantly, these days, what do you need to know about buying a new house in a hot market? Here are some insights to guide your efforts and ensure you experience a smooth homebuying process.
What Defines a Hot Market?
People toss around the term “hot housing market” loosely, but what does it really mean, especially to a soon-to-be homebuyer like you? Explore the Lehigh Valley housing transaction rates to see what’s happening. A hot market is typically defined by a series of months with higher-than-usual real estate transactions. There will be data pointing to how many months a property will remain on the market before selling, too. The shorter the listing timeline, the “hotter” the market. Generally, when there is a six-month period of balance between buying and selling, it’s a healthy market. Fewer listings translate to a seller’s market, while more listings favor a buyer’s market.
Transactions Happen Fast, But Don’t Impulse Buy
It’s important to realistically prepare for a hot housing market the right way. You’ll want to get your ducks in a row before you embark on your home buying journey. However, while transactions happen quickly, it’s mission-critical that you do not result to emotional buying or being impulsive about your decisions. It can get confusing and fast-moving, especially once you arrive at the offer and negotiation stage of buying a house. But you don’t want to experience buyer’s remorse or end up paying more than you should (or can afford) because you were caught up in the buzz with a fear of missing out driving your decisions.
Get Your Finances in Order First
Before you do anything, talk with a few lending professionals about your pre-approval or pre-qualification steps for securing a mortgage. Again, transactions happen fast in a hot housing market. And you might just lose out on your dream house to another buyer who has their finances in order when you don’t. It’s also a best practice to iron out the finance details ahead of time so you can be sure you only look and consider Lehigh Valley homes that fit your needs and budget. Be mindful to explore first-time homebuyer grants and lending options, too, which are incredibly helpful with down payments, closing costs, and interest rates.
Consumer Reports Tips
Consumer Reports collects opinions and data from members about their experiences, and there are a few tips worth sharing if you’re planning to buy. For example, most homebuyers have the best luck finding a new home in a hot housing market when they search for new listings mid-week, expressly Tuesdays and Wednesdays. Since most deals come together over the weekend, waiting until the weekend to start looking at listings could result in missing out altogether. It’s also recommended that buyers look for ways to “sweeten the offer” whenever possible. Doing so will help your offer stand apart from other offers a seller might have on the table.
Find an Expert Real Estate Agent
Don’t cut corners assuming you can handle the home buying process or listing process on your own. In a hot housing market, you need a local Lehigh Valley expert who is a master negotiator and well-versed in these fast-tracked transactions. Take the time to meet and vet potential real estate agent partners to work on your behalf. Look for experience, communication frequency, and knowledge before working with any agent. Now’s not the time for a rookie Realtor or a professional who’s so busy that they can’t devote enough attention to your needs.
Be Flexible About Must-Haves
In a hot housing market, you won’t likely be the only buyer extending an offer. So, if you take too much time to deliberate or drag your feet about conditional inquiries, the seller might just bail on you to accept the next offer. Before reaching this point, consider creating a few lists for yourself about what you need versus what you want in a new dream home. Start with the dealbreaker amenities, like square footage, number of bathrooms, or location. Then you can itemize a second list of nice to have extras, like a fenced-in backyard or finished basement. Don’t let some of those secondary perks keep you from buying a home that checks all your must-have boxes.
Get the Home Inspection
There is a theory that forgoing the home inspection during a hot housing market transaction is sound. It’s not. This is a significant purchase for you, and the home inspection is the third-party professional opinion you need to be confident about the condition of the property. If your agent or the sellers try to convince you to rush through a transaction without an inspection, don’t do it. A smooth sailing and quick home buying process won’t matter if you’re left holding hefty maintenance and repair bills you didn’t see coming.
Put Your Best Foot and Offer Forward
In a traditional, more balanced housing market, you might think it’s best to make an offer slightly lower than the asking price. And you’d be diligent about contingencies and asking for stipulations. Those techniques, however, won’t serve you well when the housing market is hot. Because there will be other buyers interested in the same property, any stumbling or tough tactics will only discourage the seller from working with you. Instead, put your best offer forward, maybe even a little higher than asking, depending on the advice of your agent. And be flexible about waiving contingencies you can live without, too.
Patience Is the Pillar of Smart Decisions
In addition to avoiding the impulse buy, the smartest real estate decisions are made from a position of patience. Some aspects of the homebuying journey will feel hectic and quick. But it is still a journey that could take a month or two to finalize. Don’t be rushed, and don’t rush yourself through anything. Take your time to evaluate every decision and weigh all your options. Patience through each step of the process will ensure the best potential outcomes.
Choose a Title Partner You Can Trust
Despite your best efforts to take all the steps to have a great home buying experience, there are potential risks awaiting right up through closing. And that’s why you should make sure you select a title company partner you can trust and who has all the tools, resources, and experience needed to finalize the title work details. When you work with a trusted title company, like New Door Property Transfer, you can expect a full-service title search and transfer experience.
In addition to securing and insuring the proper transfer of title from the seller to you as the buyer, your trusted title company can also provide:
- Title search
- Holding escrow funds
- Conducting property surveys
- Uncovering encumbrances
- Issuing title insurance
- Preparing closing statements
- Overseeing the closing process
As long as the Lehigh Valley housing market continues to be hot, these are the insights to help see you through a positive home buying transaction. And contact New Door Property Transfer when you’re ready for title work!