5 Tips for Lake Charles Home Buyers
With Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas, SEC Football and Saints Football all behind us, Lake Charles Real Estate Market is showing an increase in activity since the last quarter of 2011. With the low interest rates available and tax refunds, consumers begin to re-think home ownership and consider the advantages of buying a home. The lower mortgage rates make it affordable for renters to become buyers. The Lake Charles Inventory of real estate is beginning to have frequent home showings and the days on the market are becoming shorter as homes go under contract.
If you are considering a home purchase in Southwest Louisiana, the following questions below should increase your chances of having a positive, happy, long-term, property ownership experience.
1. Can I afford it?
If you are currently renting how much is your rent and how much can you be pre-approved for? If the amounts are close, in comparison, chances are you can afford to purchase provided your mortgage lender approves you for a home loan. Review your budget and take into consideration your other expenses, lifestyles and habits to make sure you can comfortably afford that house note and still pay your other bills and have some savings. Factor in your employment also . Do you expect to stay in your current position or is it risky with company cutbacks or no work available.
2. Do I love the home I want to buy?
Can you see yourself inside the home you choose? Real estate should be held for the long term, and loving a property should nourish many happy years of your home ownership Take your time when viewing properties. Don’t buy a house if you don’t love it or at least really like or want that particular property. Real estate is about matching the right home fit with the right buyer, not every home you view is going to meet your criteria. Don’t buy just “to buy” or because of low rates alone or advice from others who tell you it is a good idea. Buy what you want, when you are ready, You want to buy a Lake Charles home that you will be proud of to host your friends and family over the years.
3. How well do you know the area or neighborhood?
Many times a home buyer can be from out of town. Lake Charles has a high percentage of relocation real estate. If you don’t know the area, take the time to learn about the neighborhoods and the community. By educating yourself and doing some homework, viewing several properties in various neighborhoods you will be informed before you make any offer.
4. Is the home in good shape?
Lake Charles Foreclosures and short sales may sound like a bargain. Fixer-uppers rarely sell at a large enough discount to compensate for all the work that needs to be done. The cost of construction and remodeling can be higher than expected. Are you ready to take on a project? Unless you are a contractor, it almost undoubtedly will cost much more than you anticipate. Sometimes those great deals are too good to be true. Leave the “needs TLC” or “fixer-upper” properties to the contractors. You want to buy something in good shape that is ready to move into. Ever seen that movie “The Money Pit”???
5. Will I own it for at least five years?
Plan on staying in your home for at least five years. Many times a homeowner will contact me to sell their house because they have outgrown the home or they want to build a new home. If you have only been in your house for two to three years, you may not have accrued enough equity to turn a profit on your home sale. Real estate is a long term investment. Five years is about the breaking even point if sellers choose to sell at that time. Unless you are an investor who is going to “flip” properties for a profit, buying and selling quickly will usually leave you in a position with very little negotiation room and you could incur a loss.
Marilyn Boudreaux is a Full Time Licensed REALTOR in the State of Louisiana affiliated with Century 21 Mike D. Bono & Co.’s.
Copyright 2012© Marilyn Boudreaux
Marilyn Boudreaux, REALTOR® 337-499-9592
Century 21 Mike D. Bono & Co.’s
4410 Nelson Road
Lake Charles, LA USA 70605