If you’ve been dialed into the real estate market at all in the last year, you know how hectic it’s been. Homes have sold in a matter of minutes for thousands over the asking price, investors have been in a feeding frenzy, and buyers were diving into bidding wars left, right, and center. Trying to navigate this kind of chaos can be incredibly intimidating, especially if you’re a first-time homebuyer.
Although the market is starting to slow down a bit, Nassau County, NY, real estate is still thriving. Read on to learn more about how to navigate this market and get the best deal for you.
1. Decide on Your Time Frame
If you plan to buy a house in the current Nassau County, NY, real estate market, it’s important to know what sort of timeline you’re working with. Over the past few months, we’ve seen an unprecedented explosion in the real estate market. With interest rates dropping so low in the wake of the pandemic, more people than ever are looking to dive into homeownership.
If possible, keep your timeline for buying your home as long and as flexible as you can. Of course, you may have to contend with job changes, school schedules, lease renewals, and other limiting factors. But the more time you can wait to buy your house, the better your chances of landing a deal and a home that work for you.
2. Scan the Market
During that waiting period after you decide on your time frame, start keeping tabs on the Nassau County market and the NY real estate market in general. Knowing what’s available and how fast it goes can help you know when to jump on a buying opportunity. You’ll also be more prepared to make a competitive offer if you know what similar homes have sold for recently.
Set up a saved search on a real estate website that includes your basic “needs” list for your home. Scan these listings, as well as listings that may be a little outside those criteria at least once or twice a week. Pay attention to list price vs. sale price, how much time homes are spending on the market before they go under contract, what size and quality homes are most available, and where homes tend to go on the market.
3. Find a Good Agent
Keeping a weather eye on the real estate market is something you can handle on your own. But when it comes time to find your dream home, you’re going to want a good real estate agent in your corner. Not only can they help you navigate the purchase of the home, but they can also help you find the perfect space for you.
At Dean Miller Real Estate, our agents live and breathe the local real estate market. We have our finger on the pulse of the Nassau County market and can show you homes you might not be able to find on your own. We can also narrow down listings based on your “needs,” “wants,” and “ideals” criteria so you only see homes that will be a perfect fit for your family.
4. Stay Flexible
When you’re shopping for your home, it can be easy to get one daydream picture in your head. You want the big backyard for the kids with the patio you can put a grill on, an upgraded kitchen, and a large soaking tub in the expansive master suite. Your house will be in a beautiful, safe neighborhood with affordable HOA fees, good schools, and an easy commute to work.
All of these things are wonderful, but they may not always be realistic, especially in today’s market. It’s important to stay flexible when you’re shopping for your home. Think about ways you can make different homes work for you, and divide your wish list into things you absolutely have to have, things that are important, and things that would be nice but aren’t necessary.
5. Get Mortgage Preapproval
Once you do find your dream home, you want to be able to move fast with your offer. In today’s market, homes are selling in hours, not days, and you need to be able to navigate that negotiation process quickly. Having your financing lined up ahead of time can help you be ready to strike when the perfect home hits the market.
Talk to your bank or mortgage lender and begin the mortgage preapproval process as soon as you’re ready to start shopping in earnest. You’ll likely need to provide some basic information about your income and assets, as well as your current debt load and credit score. Keep in mind that most mortgage preapprovals have a limited time frame, so don’t apply too early in the process.
6. Up Your Down Payment
While a mortgage preapproval can help to reassure dubious sellers, some may still want to see more proof that you can secure your financing. No one wants to lose weeks on negotiations and inspections, only to find out their prospective buyer can’t get the mortgage. In fact, many sellers are working with cash buyers just to avoid the hassle of mortgage financing.
One way to reassure sellers that you’re a solid buyer is to raise your down payment. Not only will this show them that you can put your money where your mouth is, but it will also improve your chances of getting your mortgage approved during the underwriting process. And, best of all, a larger down payment can help you to avoid mortgage insurance and lower your monthly payment on the loan.
7. Get an Inspection
Given how fast the market is moving, some buyers have been tempted to skip getting an inspection just to speed up the process. Some sellers may even pressure buyers to waive the inspection, saying they have cash buyers who will purchase the home with no inspection. But even in a market like this, it’s incredibly important to have the home inspected before you buy.
A home may look beautiful on the outside, but major structural problems could be lurking under the surface. Not only could these cost you thousands in repairs, but you might not even be able to get your mortgage approved without an inspection. Be sure to get a solid home inspection, and, if you’re looking to speed up the process, don’t ask for any repairs.
8. Be Patient
When you’re buying a home, one of the most important things you can be is patient. It may take time for the right house to come on the market at a price you can afford. You may lose some homes to other buyers, or you may not be in a position to put in an offer when the home goes for sale.
Dozens of new homes hit the market every day, and being willing to wait it out will help you get a home that works for your budget and your family. Don’t get caught up in the desperation of the market and put an offer on the first livable thing that comes on the market. As much as possible, give the process time and wait for a house that’s affordable and fits your needs.
9. Host an Open House
We’ve talked a lot about how to buy real estate in Nassau County, but what should you do if you want to sell real estate? One of the first things you should plan to do is host an open house. This gives potential buyers an opportunity to see the home for themselves without having to commit to a scheduled tour.
Before your open house, give your house a thorough cleaning or have it professionally cleaned. Remove any personal items, including family photos or quirky decorations, from sight and put away any pet items. Talk to your realtor about being there to host the open house so you can step away and buyers can look at the house without feeling pressured.
10. Make Small Repairs
Before you list your house or schedule the open house, it’s a good idea to make some small repairs to your home. The devil really is in the details, and you’d be surprised how much small problems can drive down the sale price of your home. Fixing these before you list can help you to draw in more buyers and get a better price.
Fix any dangling gutters, replace torn window screens, patch holes or cracks in your walls, and touch up damaged trim. Make sure all your outlets and light switches work, repair or replace broken appliances, and clean out slow drains or disposals. It may also be a good idea to paint your walls a neutral color, upgrade outdated light fixtures or faucets, and spruce up your landscaping.
11. Wait for the Best Offer
When you put your home on the market, you may start getting offers pouring in within a matter of hours. It can be tempting to jump on the first offer you get, especially if you’re on a tight timeline to sell. But oftentimes, if you can wait just a little bit longer, you might get an even better offer from the next potential buyer.
Of course, you can’t wait around forever to accept an offer, and there is some truth to the phrase “A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush.” But don’t be afraid to wait for a little while after the first offer to see if someone offers more money, better terms, or even starts a bidding war!
12. Nassau County Inventory
The Nassau County real estate market is thriving right now, with more than 3,000 homes up for sale. Most houses are listed for somewhere around $650,000, although prices can range from $32,000 all the way up to $40 million. Homes are selling for a bit below list price, at an average of $635,000.
Houses in Nassau County tend to average a little over 1,600 square feet in size, listing for around $403 per square foot. The market is actually trending a little more towards a buyer’s market right now, meaning there are slightly more homes for sale than there are buyers. Prices are also on a slight downward trend, dropping from an average sale price of $646,000 in October of last year.
13. Average Time on the Market
Although homes have been selling like hot cakes for the last year, the shift in the market is starting to slow down that timeline. Right now, homes spend an average of 123 days on the market before they sell. This is up from a historic low of just 106 days in August of last year.
Keep in mind that the time from list to sale includes the period of inspections, mortgage approvals, and so on. You may get your first offer in much less than that 123 days. If you want to move your home quickly, consider lowering the price, hosting an open house, or advertising your listing.
14. Hot Cities
There are 138 cities in Nassau County, NY, and each offers a variety of different benefits. Great Neck is currently one of the most popular cities in the Nassau County real estate market. There are nearly 300 homes currently on the market there, with an average list price of almost $820,000.
Valley Stream is another thriving Nassau County city, with 264 homes on the market and an average list price of $610,000. You might want to look at homes in Levittown, where there are almost 240 homes for sale averaging around $560,000. Massapequa also offers a number of amazing options, with 230 homes for sale averaging at $627,000 each.
Learn to Navigate Nassau County, NY, Real Estate
Nassau County, NY, is a thriving real estate market with thousands of amazing homes and eager buyers. If you’re looking to buy, get your financing nailed down and be patient while you look for your dream home. If you’re selling, make small repairs and upgrades, and don’t be afraid to wait a bit for a stellar offer.
Interested in learning more about the Nassau County, NY, real estate market, check out the rest of our site at Dean Miller Real Estate. We make Long Island real estate easy, whether you’re buying or selling. Contact us today and let us help you to achieve your homeownership goals.