5 Fall Housing Pitfalls And How To Avoid Them
3. Sniff out desperation: Does the photo of the house you've been pining over all summer on MLS look exactly as it did when you first saw it Memorial Day? Has the price dropped without eliciting so much as an "under contract" update? Is there yet another open house coming up in a few weeks? That all works in your favor. If a buyer hasn't budged after one of the hottest real estate summers since the housing crisis began, chances are there's room to negotiate. If they want the house sold more than they want a tidy profit, that's how deals are born.
4. Kick the tires: Fall may be a lovely corridor of copper leaves and crisp temperatures in some areas, but it's also the time of year the weather takes a turn. When you're buying a home, the leaf litter and returning rain provide ample opportunities to see where the current homeowners have done work and what they've neglected on the way out the door. For the most part, there shouldn't be leaves piled up in the gutters in late September or early October. There also should be decent gutter drainage that doesn't involve water spewing from where a drain pipe once was.
5. Remember, you'll have help: Census Bureau numbers indicate that fall, and September in particular, is a bit of a rough patch for contractors and home and garden stores such as Home Depot (HD) and Lowes (LOW) . If your dream house could use a kitchen upgrade or central air through its heating ducts, home stores and builders usually start discounting inventory around this time of year and can help you make changes on the cheap. Of course, if you're looking to build from scratch, those discounts not only add up, but bring in business for a homebuilding industry that's grown 25% since last year but is still building less than half than the "normal" number of homes it completes in a year.
-- Written by Jason Notte in Boston.
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