So, I did a thing. I helped a great buyer rejoin the ranks of South Florida homeowners. Spoiler alert – that buyer was me!
Much has changed from 2013, when I bought my first home, to today, but there are also some interesting similarities, and tons of lessons learned along the way.
Maybe it’s just the world we live in and that there is no such thing as “normal,” but as a buyer, I have a real knack for purchasing under unusual circumstances. When I bought my downtown Fort Lauderdale 1920s cottage in 2013, our market was still rebounding from the 2008 global financial crisis – brought on by shady practices in the banking/mortgage/housing industry. Home prices were low but rising fast. Interest rates were what we thought then were rock bottom in the high three percent/low fours. Low inventory caused homes to move so quickly you had to make some pretty serious moves to get in and get accepted as a buyer.
Eight years later, our economy has adjusted to conditions brought on by the COVID pandemic. Some industries and entire demographics of people were hit hard; others are going very strong – including real estate. Interest rates are even lower than they were after the financial crisis. Prices have quickly risen and inventory is moving fast. The second a home goes on the market, people are making offers in an effort to lock it down. All kinds of crazy things are happening – escalation clauses, waiving inspections and appraisals, sight unseen Zoom and Face Time buyers are moving out of higher cost markets and in to lower cost ones.
One huge thing that changed for me personally over the past eight years is that I got licensed as a REALTOR-associate in early 2019 and have been working in the industry. Knowing the ins and outs of transactions far better than I did as a starry-eyed first-time homebuyer, I treated the purchase as if I was working with one of my clients:
- Getting real and knowing myself as a homeowner. As a single lady who doesn’t love being hot or getting eaten by mosquitoes, maybe having a jungle in the backyard is not a good idea this time around.
- Getting in to see the home as quickly as possible.
- Making a strong offer immediately.
- Staying in touch with the seller’s agent to know what it would take to get the offer accepted.
- Being courteous and prompt: being a nice, real, professional, human who responds quickly goes a long way.
- Comparing comparable sales (comps) to ensure the purchase price was on target and a good buy for me.
- Getting my sh*t together – from being mentally prepared to buy, not getting emotional about the purchase, knowing costs and staying on top of my timeline.
- Having a team of hardworking rock stars on board before and shortly after going under contract: mortgage broker, inspector, insurance agent and closing attorney.
None of this is rocket science, BUT there is an art to doing things right – especially in a tricky market like this one. You’ve got to prepare and get your head – and bank account – in the game.
Thinking of buying, selling or leasing? Let’s chat. I would love to help you make your real estate goals a reality – now and in the future. Let’s strategize on what is best for you. Contact me atMaggie@DeBianchi.com or send me a message!