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Five 2015 Disruptions to Get Ahead of NOW!

Written by Posted On Monday, 05 January 2015 08:44

"Be prepared" is an ideal motto and resolution for 2015. Although the actual date of a physical or economic disruption is hard to forecast, the events of 2014 have taught us to expect a bumpy ride on many fronts in 2015.

"If only I'd…" are the worst words a buyer or seller can utter, according to real estate professionals intent on ensuring their clients don't miss out on what matters to them. Consumers are often their own worst enemy because they are unprepared to minimize challenges and to snap up opportunities.

Last year, held surprise after surprise for consumers, businesses, and governments alike. In the midst of this vortex of economic and social change, buyers and sellers concentrated on achieving their real estate dreams. A lot of property changed hands, but not everyone that wanted to buy or sell successfully last year did. Will you achieve your real estate goals in 2015?

This year will continue many of the economic, political, and social trends that made 2014 a challenge. Getting caught unprepared is the greatest problem. This can mean lost opportunities and increased costs, and it can also lead to missing out on a great deal. Real estate professionals all have stories to tell about buyers and sellers who were not prepared to say "yes" when the perfect property or offer appeared, and who then spent the rest of the year trying vainly to recapture those advantages.

Here's five significant 2015 disruptions to get ahead of NOW, so you won't be caught unprepared when opportunity appears, and you won't end up wishing "If only I'd…" in hindsight:

#1. Interest Rate Increases

When rates rise a couple of points, will your real estate plans be affected? If rates jump five per cent or more, how will that affect your buying power or the buying power of those you hope to sell your home to?

#2. Identity Theft and Hacking

How would identity theft, credit card fraud, or hacking (technology invading your privacy) affect your plans for financing? Have you checked your online profiles and social media like Facebook to be sure there's nothing there to turn off lenders or sellers? Try a search on your name. What pops up may surprise you.

#3. Weather Disruptions and Natural Disasters

Now extreme weather lasts longer and hits harder, so your buying or selling plans could be disrupted for a few days, weeks, or longer. Sellers remain responsible for damage to their home up to the date title is transferred, so adequate home insurance is even more crucial. Long after a disaster is over, water and structural damage may cause problems for unsuspecting buyers who purchase property previously storm damaged.

#4. Income Decline and Expense Increases

Job instability has hit many sectors during this latest round of economic problems. Increased expenses and property taxes can also reduce the amount of income available to qualify for and to repay a mortgage. What could undermine the stability of your income? How severe would the loss have to be to force you to abandon your real estate goals? Do you have plans to take on tenants or a home-based business to off-set income loss, or would you be forced to down-size your dreams?

#5. Construction Interruptions and Infrastructure Failure

Aging roads, bridges, water mains, and other infrastructure force municipalities into prolonged, expensive construction projects, which disrupt traffic, peace of mind, and daily life. Transportation and traffic plans often lag behind demand created by over development. Selling a property ringed by construction can be a challenge, so check into local municipal and private construction projects. Don't be put off if you're a buyer since this disruption may spell opportunity to you.

You don't have to tackle these challenges alone. Your real estate professional has experience with a wide range of disruptions that can distract or interfer with buyers and sellers. Professionals know the impact of various disruptions and how to head off disaster and take advantage of opportunity.

Talk through these five potential disasters and other possibilities specific to your area. This is not negative thinking, but positive strategizing. Think ahead so nothing will interfere with your dreams and plans.

Buyers and sellers should understand how these and other broad disruptions affect outcomes, increase competition, and require fresh outlooks. For instance, increased interest rates can put buyers in a panic. At the same time, some sellers will consider this the cost of buying and will not change their list price or marketing.

Sellers benefit from coaching on how buyers' reduced borrowing power can affect their selling plans. For instance, sellers may need to offer a second mortgage to achieve their desired sale price. New home builders may offer lower rates to attract buyers who originally were intent on a resale home. How will listing and marketing plans need to shift to fight this competition? Understanding the ins and outs of these private financing options, before an offer comes in, is vital for clear thinking during negotiations.

Buyers also benefit from strategic thinking. For example, those who clean up their credit history before shopping for a mortgage will benefit when rates begin to rise and qualification criteria tighten. Often errors or mis-filings cause the biggest credit history problems. Reducing credit card debt to enable qualification for a larger mortgage will also boost borrowing power.

Anticipation is power in 2015.

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