Acquiring properties is the lifeblood of the real estate investor, and joining the rush during the busy selling season means more competition as a buyer. These tips might help you sort through the most realistic homes to consider or gain a competitive edge over other buyers.
Tips for Buying Real Estate in the Summer
Do Your Homework
Study the neighborhood after hours. Unless you’re working with a seasoned real estate agent who specializes in the neighborhood you’re considering, you may want to drive through the neighborhood on weekends or in the evening. You’ll develop a sense of who lives in the area. If you’re tight for time, walk through several of the nearest grocery stores to get an idea of the local population characteristics and how they fit into your plan as an investor.
Better yet, work with a reputable property management company that specializes in the area and let them do the research for you. (It’s likely that they already know the area well and can save you tons of time and money by passing on their knowledge.)
Be ready to buy. Most sellers want a fast closing and if your papers are in order, you have an advantage. Pre-approval is a must, and verify with your real estate agent that the lender has everything that it needs.
- Get past the curb appeal. Unless you’re a seasoned property investor, it’s hard to separate emotion from reason when looking at a property. This is especially true if you’re buying real estate in the summer with foliage and flowers in full bloom, it’s easy to miss the weaknesses in the home and yard.It takes practice to get beyond the first impression from the street, but it will be worth the effort to learn to see past the distractions to discover what’s underneath and inside. Trust your instincts. If you think something’s amiss, dig a little deeper. Pursuing a home with potentially serious problems could be a waste of your time.
- Don’t skip the inspection. It’s not a good idea to skip the inspection to save time or money. Even though home inspectors are generalists, they still have the tools and training to spot problems you may never notice.They also have to inspect the attic where wiring and moisture problems often lurk. Hidden structural, plumbing, or electrical problems can cost thousands to fix later. It’s also a good idea to hire an HVAC contractor to do a separate inspection of the cooling and heating system, since these are critical to renting the home and mechanically complicated.
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- Use repairs as a leverage to get to the head of the line. The National Association of Realtors tracks home sales by month for each state and major markets in the U.S. They’ve found that 40 percent of all home sales occur from May through August. In Florida, the peak selling season starts earlier given the mild winter and the warming weather as summer nears.Nonetheless, in locations like Jacksonville where snowbirds don’t play a major role in the market, you might have competition from other buyers in late spring and summer for the same property. Many homeowners sell at these times to be able to move when the kids are on summer break. Those people selling are also in the market to buy, which increases the demand for the available properties.
If you have found an ideal property and don’t want to lose it over a minor issue, don’t offer more money. Instead, agree to fix the deficiencies yourself. If the house has been on the market a while, the seller may be motivated by time and more than money. Not having the hassle of another repair may prompt them to work with you.
Consider Working with a Property Management Company to Streamline the Process
The above will help you buy in a seller’s market, as will working with a trusted property management company. They have the inside track to help you find the ideal properties in the best neighborhoods for investors.
JWB has more than 10 years experience managing turnkey rental property investments. We have a consistent approach that delivers steady cash flow from our clients investment properties. Curious what your cash flow could be from one of our rental properties? Try our cash flow calculator or contact us to learn more.