Barb, If you decide that you want to pay off the 30-year mortgage on the vacation home (or any home), you can simply pay extra each month or make an extra payment once a year.
Of course, there are also one-year ARMS and three, five or seven year hybrids
Hybrids lock in a fixed rate for a few years then revert to a one-year ARM, which resets once a year.
Lots of choices out there! Looks like we have another question from a first-time home buyer.
They can be a very cheap way to go, but with fixed rates so low, they are preferable now.
Right. With ARMs that have an fixed-rate period up front (like 1, 3 or 5 years), you typically want to take the one that matches how long you expect to own the place--or be prepared to make a higher monthly payment when the rate adjusts.
First of all, keep in mind that the agent at the open house isn't the agent you should hire as your agent. That agent represents the home seller. You need your own buyer's agent.
Start by making sure you are comfortable with the neighborhood, schools, the commute
You could ask--although the agent may not answer--how motivated the sellers are to sell.
Pat, would it help to know how long the house has been on the market?
You could ask how long the homeowners owned the house and whether the property is owned by the seller's bank (a foreclosure) or a short sale (the seller is selling it for less than they owe on their mortgage).
For negotiating down the road, the seller may pay some closing costs.
Janet, yes, it would help to know how long it's been on the market--that's a clue to how motivated the seller may be. But the open house agent may not be able to tell you.
Or you might learn that it's been on the market for 3 months, but it's actually been listed previously for a longer time or multiple times.
Really. Wouldn't the agent know?
But the more time on the market, the better for the buyer, usually.
Usually, but if it's been on and off for a long time, you might have a seller that really isn't interested in selling at today's market price.
Still, that's all good info to have.
Pat, buyers can get access to the multiple listing service, right, even without an agent?
Yes, you can check out for-sale properties on the local multiple listing service via agents' Web sites or the Web site of the MLS itself. But that won't probably won't show previous listings.
I think you can try www.trulia.com. Type in the address and I think (not positive) that you can see previous listings.
All very good considerations. Here's our next question from Bill
Note that agents' commission are negotiable. They tend to start with 6% but that's not fixed in stone.
Of course only sellers pay agent commissions.
You may be able to get the agent to reduce the commission if your house is ready to go without much effort from the agent.
Pat, you take Bill's question.
Hi, Bill, Why would you want to buy first, then sell?
You could be saddled with two mortgage payments for a while.
Plus, if you move out of your first home and leave it vacant you run the risk of its condition deteriorating the longer it sits. Would you rent it out?
Maybe you're hoping to buy the condo at today's low prices and sell your previous home at tomorrow's higher prices. That's a possibility, but home prices aren't expected to increase by very much over the few years--maybe 1% to 2% annually.
Back in the bubble, with bidding wars, people often bought a new home first and sold their old home later
Now there is more on the market--Bill, do you think this property will get sold to someone else?
Bill, that sounds okay, but you may want to ask your agent to help you "stage" the house for sale, so that it doesn't look empty and sad.
If you have the fnancial resources to do it in that order and it brings peace of mind, that's important.
Bill, That's an important concern. You might look for a real estate agent who specializes in helping seniors sell their homes. They can be really helpful to people in your position.
Plus, you might really enjoy a community of new friends in the condo community.
How quickly homes sell and how good a price you can get really depends on, as agents always say, "location, location, location."