Median sales price in Pinellas County, Florida increased 16%!!!! from February 2012 compared to February 2013 as reported by Mid Florida Regional MLS. Pinellas County includes St Petersburg, Clearwater Beach, Treasure Isle, Tierra Verde, Madeira Beach and St Pete Beach.

Real Estate News By: Deidre Woollard

Everywhere you turn the market is predicted to be better than ever. Local news websites across the country are full of news about rising prices and increased sales. While sellers remain a bit cautious to list, there’s no doubt buyers are out in force. New home construction is also a major factor as building starts and the amount of building applications are on the rise in many areas of the country. The market is shifting once again which is why it’s more important than ever to be ready to make smart moves if you see the home of your dreams. If you need a refresher course in how to prepare for home ownership visit our post on resolutions to get you into a new home for the new year. Even if you are financially prepared there are still a few more things to look out for. Some of the Realtors who answer questions for the Realtor.com Q&A platform have some advice on how to negotiate the choppy waters and wind up with a home you will love.

Working With A Buyer’s Agent Can Help You Find A Home In A Low Inventory Market.

One of the biggest issues in the real estate market across the country is that houses are being snapped up before interested buyers have a chance to act. What should you do when the home you have fallen in love with is listed as contingent or pending? Should you take a chance? There’s no hard and fast rule because every home sale is different and every agent is different. Depending on the home and the offer, a backup offer may be welcomed or ignored.

“Many sellers and their agents welcome back-up offers; some do not. Have your Realtor ask the seller’s agent if they are willing to take your offer and go from there,” advises Realtor® Lee Dworshak of Keller Williams LA Harbor Realty. One of the reasons it can be smart to work with a buyer’s agent in a market with low inventory is that you can learn about houses as soon as they hit the market. If your agent knows that neighborhood you are interested in, they can be the ear to the ground and get you into the house early in the process.

Doing The Two House Juggle Is Tougher Than Ever.

If you have to sell your house before buying a new one, you may be at a disadvantage. “In a hot market it’s often a deal killer to include in your offer to buy a new home, a contingency to sell your existing home. Sellers will simply take their pick of offers not burdened by such a contingency,” says Lee Dworshak. Depending on your local market it may make sense to put your existing house on the market before you begin the hunt for a new home. An agent can advise you on whether or not this makes sense for you based on the average time on market for homes in your area. If your financial situation allows it, you could also rent your current house out if it doesn’t make sense to sell currently.

Haggle With Care.

Knowing what to offer can often be a delicate dance. Too low and it may ruin the deal forever and you do not seem like a serious potential buyer. Too high and you may miss out on a chance to save some money. Sometimes even if a house seems overpriced, you may have to walk away.“In the end there are only a couple of things that matter to a seller. First and foremost is what they are putting in their pocket. I knew one seller that waited five years until the market finally caught up to his price. I never even talked to the guy about listing, because he wanted so much. About six or seven other agents had his home listed over that time period, but only the last one sold the home. I just suggest making your best offer, and move on. Oh, the second thing sellers like is an easy closing, so make the offer as-is and get your inspections and financing tied up as quickly as possible, “ advises David Welch, a Realtor® with Re/Max 200 Realty.

Bear in mind also that there may be other factors influencing the price that the sellers have put on the home . There is a reason that agents often put the words “motivated seller” in a listing description. The truth is that not all sellers are desperate to sell immediately. “If the sellers do not have to move, they will not be incented to take less than they want. If the sellers have that much “into” the home, they will not want to take less. Comps are what buyers use, but sellers always have a reason why their house is better than the comps. One technique I find helpful is to present a very reasonable offer with a cover letter (or in person if possible) extolling the virtues of the home and saying how wonderful it is but expressing concern that the appraisal process might hamper the realization of the price. I then provide comps, excellent evidence of financial strength, and end by saying: “We realize we may not be the right buyer for your lovely home, but we would certainly love to be the new owner.” That last point makes the sellers think twice about who WOULD be the right buyer,” says Linda Walters, a Realtor® with Sage Realty.

Timing Your Life Is As Important As Timing The Market. It’s easy to drive yourself mad trying to predict the market. Should I buy now, should I sell now? Is there a right time of the year to buy or sell? The only truth is that when it is right for you, it is right for you. Make your decisions based on your financial and personal situation not on what you think may or may not happen. “It is very difficult to time exactly when it is best to sell… so I always recommend to clients and friends to sell when you know you want to sell. Traditionally, springtime is a very popular time of year to sell one’s home, as the weather enables potential buyers to travel and view listings on weekends with their families. The price of the property is based on income, location, and condition,” states Arlene Gonnella, a Realtor® in Short Hills New Jersey.

Finding the home you will love for years is one of the greatest investments and commitments of your life and also one of the most exciting—best of luck to you in your search, whether you are looking to move now or just checking out the market.

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