1) Interest rates are still very attractive at 4.375% to 4.5% for the 30-year fixed rate and 3.5% for the 5/1 ARM.
(The 5/1 ARM is fixed for the first five years, then adjusts every year thereafter. It is a make-sense choice for people who plan to keep the property for six years or less.)
2) The housing market has been improving for the past year, giving home owners more equity, and giving more sellers the ability to sell which gives buyers more inventory to choose from.
3) Buyer’s agents are free to home buyers. They are paid by the seller. Your buyer’s agent is required by law to get you the best price, best terms, and look out for your best interests in every aspect of the real estate purchase.
It is my opinion that making an offer between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day is a good strategy for getting the best price. Typically, the market slows down during the holidays, so there is not as much competition. Sellers aren’t receiving offers or even lookers, so this is the time for you to pick up a good deal. Furthermore, the market tends to pick up in January when renters make New Year resolutions to become home owners.
Some years back, I bought a condominium for a great price in December. My agent told me later that the home owner was so angry when he saw my purchase offer that he threw the papers across the room. (Thankfully, I didn’t have to see it, because I had a buyer’s agent representing me.) But then his wife said, “Honey, let’s just make a counter-offer.”
The counter-offer was not bad. I countered again, per my agent’s suggestion, and I got a lovely home at an attractive price. I lived there for five years and made a nice profit when I sold.