Real estate

Advice for homebuyers and sellers

May 9, 2013 at 1:44 PM ET

Ilyce Glink

It’s a seller’s market in many parts of the country right now. That’s a big change from the past six or seven years. With buyers competing for the same property, home prices are going up. It’s a good thing mortgage interest rates are at historic lows.

“If you want to get the home of your dreams, you need to be really serious,” advises real estate expert Ilyce Glink, author of the book Buy, Close, Move In. “You've got to get pre-approved, not pre-qualified for your purchase. You have to know what you want and how much you feel comfortable spending (it may be less than what the bank suggests). If you know what you want and how much you want to spend, and you've spent a lot of time in your neighborhood of choice, when the right property comes up, you can pounce.”

During a TODAY Money web chat on Wednesday, Glink, shared some great advice.

TODAY: What do you say to all of the people who still find themselves underwater? Will they ever get back to the plus side again and have some equity in their home?

Ilyce Glink: We're seeing tens of thousands of Americans get back to positive equity every month, as home prices rise. In some places, like Georgia, about 40 percent of all homeowners are underwater. But the national average is now 20 to 23 percent.

Those who bought in 2005 to 2007 might not go positive for the next 10 years, if they were in the hardest hit areas, but most other people will or they will do short sales and have the debt be forgiven.

We will get most of America right-side up again and probably by 2015.

TODAY: What’s the biggest mistake buyers make?

Ilyce Glink: Buyers often make the mistake of buying in the wrong location. The think they can live somewhere, but don't really take the time to thoroughly investigate the neighborhood. They don't walk by the school or visit local stores or dining establishments.

They might check out the school district for the age their kids are today, but not the schools they'd go into 5 years from now.

And, speaking of the future, buyers often forget that they're supposed to live in this house for 5 to 10 years – they think they'll flip it in 24 months and triple their money. NOT!

TODAY: And what’s the biggest mistake sellers make?

Ilyce Glink: Most folks think that their home is worth much more than it is – even if it is in great shape. It can really get in the way of selling your home.

When I tell people that homes values are rolled back to where they were in 2003, a full 10 years ago, they don't fully comprehend what that means. But think back. Your home was probably worth 20 percent less than it is today – or even less.


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