We're back actively looking in the market for a home. This involves long hours of sitting in front of the computer searching through MLS listings for homes that fit our criteria (especially those that aren't searchable (such as a having a nice kitchen)), are geographically in the area we want to live, and are in our price range. It's loads of fun, let me tell you.
We have two nice and knowledgable realtors, whose site I'll link to in a few days. However, as a potential home buyer I remain skeptical of folks who will only make money if they sell me something. I still feel more comfortable doing much of the legwork myself and will err on the side of caution in any decision. I need a realtor to let me into houses and then walk me through the legal and procedural steps of buying the one I like. I'm sure this makes their job easier, in that they don't have to do the legwork, but more difficult in that they might end up showing me more houses than they would the average buyer.
We had a list of 8 houses we wanted to see this weekend. Only 2 would let us in without a pre-approval letter from our mortgage company in the price range they have listed on the MLS. Those are the two we saw. One was an 18-year old rundown mess that an investor was just trying to flip. It was priced a little high for the existing market and would have to be seriously discounted for the remodelling work it would take to make this a livable home. So that's a no go.
The other house was 4-years old, is a current rental property, and had a great layout. It did have some issues with details where the builder just didn't seem to care what the house looked like or how it functioned. It needed repainting inside and out, and a few maintenance details taken care of, but overall, if the price was 10-15% lower than what it is listed for, we would likely make an offer.
The Orlando resale home market appears to have made its adjustment. Price per square foot continues to rise slowly, but many homes are still about 10-15% too high in that area based on previous sales in their community. These are the homeowners who just placed their home on the market for 120-180 days to see if they could get their asking price and will have to rethink their strategy once the contracted listing window is over.
I feel our best bet is to find a home that has been on the market for a long time, is likely investor owned, and is willing to sell at the avg price per square foot in their area, not the top price per square foot. Now, how do you find those? I guess that's what a realtor is for.