Real NEastate: Holiday home shopping

Q: I am planning on buying a home next spring. I have been driving around looking at houses for sale and have stumbled upon a couple neighborhoods I really like, but I don’t see any houses for sale there! Do you think there will be some for sale in spring?

A: It’s so much fun to drive around looking at homes, especially during the holidays. Some neighborhoods are really decorated for the season, but some aren’t yet. Likewise, there are some houses up for sale and some that aren’t yet.

Timing is everything. There may not be a house for sale for years on a particular street, then all of the sudden there are three. You just never know. Ask your realtor to send letters out to neighbors for you telling them they have someone looking in their neighborhood. This sometimes works for a buyer if there’s an owner actually thinking of moving, but hasn’t made up his or her mind.

Scoping out neighborhoods is a smart thing for you to do. Take your time and figure out where you want to live. If you are looking at houses now but don’t plan on buying for several months, you may find a good one, but it may be gone by next spring. Similarly, you could wait until next spring to start looking and not find one you like until next summer.

Ask your realtor to put you on “auto-search.” That way when a home goes up for sale in a neighborhood you like, you will know right away. Hopefully a house will go up for sale exactly where you, when you want it.

Good Luck!

Stacey McCarthy is a real estate agent with the McCarthy Group of Keller Williams. Her Real NEastate column appears every Wednesday on NEastPhilly.com. See others here. Read other NEast Philly columns here.

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