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Plan ahead if you want to buy a home

Jamestown market has tight inventory but buyers are being selective, Realtor says

Geni Holben.jpg
Geni Holben, eXp Realtor
Courtesy / Geni Holben
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People interested in purchasing homes this year should plan ahead, said Geni Holben, eXp Realtor with eXp Realty in Jamestown.

Holben said while the market in Jamestown may be known to be a seller’s market, it’s actually pretty equal at this point in time between buyer and seller. The low inventory is met by selective buyers who are waiting for the right home rather than purchasing anything on the market.

And that means buyers should do their homework, she said.

“The buyers have fewer options, so they’ve got to be savvy, they’ve got to know what they’re looking for, they got to be sure that they’re preapproved, so as soon as that perfect house comes on the market that they can jump on it immediately and be one of those first ones to see it and make an offer,” Holben said.

She said buyers have to be prepared to make an offer that’s going to be competitive if they are competing with other people interested in making an offer.

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One issue that could hurt a buyer is making an offer that is contingent on selling another property first. Another issue that could hurt a buyer is if the buyer makes an offer and hasn’t gotten through preapproval first with a lender.

“So first and foremost for a buyer right now in this competitive market is to get preapproved,” Holben said.

For people who have not gone through a preapproval process for purchasing a home, Holben said it’s not difficult or lengthy.

“If you go to a bank that you have been banking with so they have a lot of your information already … literally in an afternoon you can get your preapproval,” she said.

If a bank has to ask for the documentation, it could take a few days to get the information, review it and give the preapproval, she said.

“Our local banks and the banks that most around here are using, they get you through that process pretty quickly because they know how competitive that market is,” Holben said, “but the biggest part of that is to have your documentation gathered, you know, past pay stubs, W2s, tax returns, bank statements, have all those things prepared and together so you can take that into the bank, fill out your application and have them process it.”

Many banks are doing their loan applications online now, Holben said. The bank will send a link, people fill in the information needed and email or drop off documents for review.

“So the process is very painless and the lenders around here, their professionalism is excellent,” Holben said. “It’s a good process that you’re not going to be discouraged by.”

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Also a factor with buyers and sellers is that interest rates are beginning a slow climb, Holben said. As that climbs, there will be more of a sense of urgency to purchase.

Holben said she thinks this spring will be a busy one for buyers and sellers.

“There are already are a lot of buyers that are preapproved, they’re just waiting for the right property to come on the market, they’re not settling,” she said.

She noted that there are also people getting ready to sell, such as older couples looking to downsize and move from a home that they must maintain and care for to an apartment or assisted living.

“Sometimes too, we’re really seeing a lot of some of the older couples moving to where their kids live and so they’re getting closer to family,” she said. “We’re going to see more and more of those properties going on the market, even some rural properties. … I see all good things coming in the spring. I see a good robust market for us.”

Kathy Steiner has been the editor of The Jamestown Sun since 1995. She graduated from Valley City State College with a bachelor's degree in English and studied mass communications at North Dakota State University, Fargo. She reports on business, government and community topics in the Jamestown area. Reach her at 701-952-8449 or ksteiner@jamestownsun.com.
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