Do you plan to buy a home in 2010? Did you know that there is still a great selection of Columbus OH homes for sale?

Let me explain why January is the best time of the year to buy Columbus condos or homes. If you are serious about getting into a new house in 2010, you need to start house hunting right now. Here are 5 urgent reasons why you can’t wait:

  1. Federal home buyers tax credits will expire. In 2009 the federal government created a $8,000 (up to 10% of the purchase price) tax credit for first time buyers.  It was hugely popular and created a mad rush of people buying Columbus OH homes for sale in October and November. Now the president extended the credit for half a year and, in addition, expanded it to people who owned a home for 5 years and planned to move up. You have to be in contract by April 30, 2010 to qualify. It is free money that gets refunded to you, even if you don’t owe any taxes.  Warning: this will create another buying frenzy in March and April, so home prices will increase and you will face more competition than in January and February.
  2. Get huge discounts on HUD homes. HUD homes are foreclosed homes owned by the Federal Government. They are typically in very good condition. HUD likes to sell these homes to owner occupants with FHA loans. Currently, 80 HUD homes are available in Central Ohio. They used to sell quickly and mostly above asking price. However, we noticed that demand has been slowing down in December. I believe that it will be low in January, as well, and you have a good chance to get lower offers accepted (we saw discounts of up to 30% of asking price on nice, suburban homes.) When everyone starts buying again in February and March, HUD homes will (once again) sell above asking price. Now is a short window of opportunity to get the best deals accepted!
  3. Interest rates will go up. At the start of the new year 2010 interest rates are still very low (around 5%). Most economic forecasters agree that they will go up as the economy improves in 2010 and the federal deficit rises. Now is the time to lock in your interest rate at historically low levels.
  4. New Lending Guidelines. Banks have tightened lending in 2009 and created many new guidelines which make it harder for buyers to get a home loan. Even FHA, who insures bank loans for home buyers, is planning to increase the minimum downpayment from 3.5% to 5% of the purchase price. It will not get any easier in the near future to get a loan. Take the lower downpayments while they last.
  5. End of the Buyers Market. We are still in a buyers market, but home prices have stabilized at levels seen before 2003. It is unlikely that home prices will go down any further for two two reasons. First there is a much lower inventory on the market, which means fewer houses to choose from. Second, there are hardly any newbuilt Columbus condos or homes. Last year construction was dead, so the new built homes that flooded the market in previous years are gone and there will be more competition for the limited number of existing homes. As the economy improves home prices are likely to go up in spring.

I believe this is a great time to buy a house – maybe it is the best time of your life to get a superb deal. But you can’t wait on the sidelines. Call me and lets look at some Columbus OH homes for sale together, so that you have a chance to get an excellent home for your family before the market heats up.

Thanks for reading the Blog!
Posted by: Susanne Novak, ABR, FIS, GRI 
Columbus Real Estate Agent helping First Time Buyers.
(614) 975-9650