CLEVELAND — Just a few weeks into the new year and the hot housing market is still sizzling. Typically this is the period of real estate that’s considered a slow season. But with mortgage and interest rates still low and inventory down, home buyers are making moves.
Amy and Zack Miker had just begun the journey of homeownership.
"We didn't think it was going to happen so fast," said Amy.
The couple just closed on their very first home two days ago in Parma. The pair said the whole process of searching to putting in an offer happened in the blink of an eye.
"We found the house that we loved," Amy said. "It's such a competitive market and we know it's going to get more competitive in March so we made a move."
The Mikers said they were hoping to buy their first home in 2021, but with the pandemic their plans were delayed.
"We wanted to make sure one that our jobs were safe, we were financially stable. We didn't know what to expect," Zack said.
Plus, they said the wildly competitive real estate market was intimidating.
"We decided it would be best for us just to wait," he said.
Realtor Jessica Chodaczek said the Mikers aren’t alone. She believes there’s a large group of buyers who didn’t make moves last year due to the pandemic, who say — now is the time before interest rates go back up.
"But now they're like let's go, this is our year. We can't wait any longer our needs are real," Chodaczek said.
Chodaczek, a realtor for LoFaso Real Estate, said despite this typically being a slow season. the market is still hot.
"Houses that are listening, even in this traditionally slow season, if they're in good condition and priced correctly they're still selling exceptionally fast," she said. "This is unlike any market that we've seen in quite a few years and it can be really tough on first time home buyers because it's extremely competitive.
Chodaczek said if you’re a first-time buyer who's considering buying soon, she suggests using the next month or two to get prepared.
“If you're going to buy anytime soon, right now is the time to be getting a good pre-approval and to make sure that your financial house is in order so that you can be competitive in those multiple offer situations that you're likely going to be in," she said.
Once you’ve done that — she said it's time to meet with an agent, if you're opting to take that route.
“That's the time to ask your questions, to start watching the market and slowly start to go look at houses, so that way when the right one hits you're ready.”
Amy said for others looking to buy for the first time, she advises buyers to have an idea of what they want, communicate those wants and needs and to be ready for some swift moves.
"The relationship with your realtor is huge and letting them know what you want," she said. "Our number one that I tell everyone, if you don't like your realtor, it's okay to find someone else. If you find someone that you like go with them. That's going to make your journey much easier."