SYLVANIA, Ohio — Katie Morgan currently lives in Maumee, but is looking for her next home in the Sylvania area. 

“We’ve just been looking about six weeks or so. It’s definitely, an eye-opening process, but it’s been fun," Morgan said.

Maybe you’ve thought about finally buying the home of your dreams, but don’t know if now is the right time. August is a big month for home buying. 

Here are some tips on how to get the best bang for your buck here in our area:

GOOD TIME TO SELL

Both the average and median costs of housing are up. Costs have been on the rise for 10 years in Lucas and Wood counties. There are also less homes on the market right now, meaning there are fewer options and a more competitive market driving prices up. 

But what does that really mean for you?

“If you do own a home right now, it’s the perfect time to sell because the amount of product that’s on the market is very low and the buyers are backed up waiting for more stuff to come on the market," Danberry Company real estate agent Joe Rigali said.

TIME TO UPGRADE

Even if you’re not ready to move, your investment is gaining interest and when the time comes, you should be in good shape. But, Kevin Robinson, loan officer for Hallmark Home Mortgage said there’s no time like the present.

“Some people are thinking that it’s better to wait to purchase, and it’s really not a good idea because in a lower interest rate market — which is what we’re in now — you can tell that there’s a lot of budgets that can be brought up a little bit, because you can buy a lot more house with that money,” Robinson said.

For those looking to upgrade into a bigger or newer home, this means now could also be a good time to buy.

With interest rates around one percent lower, it may be something to consider. You could be able to buy more house for the same amount of money, making an investment in your future.

“The person that has a higher end home right now might think it’s their forever home. But, the truth of the matter is, with the way rates are right now — as low as they are — you could actually move up to a more expensive home and not see an increase in rate," Rigali said.

FIRST-TIME HOME BUYERS

If you are a first-time home buyer, you have probably been waiting for the right time to buy.

Toledo ranks among the most affordable cities for first-time home buyers in the country, according to Credit Sesame.

“When you look at the difference between renting and buying, and the amount of money that you’re putting into the equity of the home, it’s absolutely the best time to buy," Robinson said.

SKIP THE FIXER-UPPER

Unless you get a really good deal, it may be best to skip that fixer upper.

“Easier, you know, can walk in day one, be done, don’t have to worry about picking things out on your own. Where with the new construction, from my understanding, it’s been done by a designer, so there’s professionals working completely behind the scenes, to make the house perfect," local buyer Scott Zaciewski said.

BUY NEW

No matter what category you fall into — if you’re really looking to save money long term — our experts recommend buying new because the savings adds up over time.

“Everything in this particular home is all five-star energy rated. The insulation is better, the windows are better, the insulation, the gas inside the windows is better... So, these homes run more efficiently than something that was built like in the 80s, 70s, and even, you know, the 90s," Rigali said.

WORK WITH SOMEONE LOCAL

Despite the rise in technology, experts warn against going with a faceless lender online.

“We’re really encouraging folks to work with someone local. Someone that you can meet in person and really talk about the numbers and your financial situation, because every family’s different," Robinson said.

The same goes for hiring a realtor. Trying to buy or sell a home on your own is going to leave you without an expert or a negotiator.

According to the Toledo Regional Association of Realtors, the numbers in our area show that trying to cut corners could cost you about 7% on the cost of the home, not to mention, a lot of headaches that you could have avoided by just being able to shop for the home you’re looking for.

Even though home buying and selling can be stressful, those looking for their next home encourage others to trust the process.

“Definitely be patient, go in with an open mind—don’t make up your mind before you get there, and just enjoy it,” Morgan said.

COMMON MISCONCEPTIONS

One of the biggest misconceptions is thinking you need to put 20% down on a home. According to the experts, you can get away with only putting 3% down and leaving the rest for unexpected costs like repairs and furniture.

Doing so would not only give you a financial cushion — especially if you are a first-time home buyer — but it would also allow you to buy something sooner/

THREE TAKEAWAYS

  • If you are a homeowner it’s a good time to sell, because there aren’t a lot of houses on the market and you could get a nice profit.
  • It is a good time to look into an upgrade into a newer or bigger home, as lower interest rates could mean a lower or equal mortgage to what you've already budgeted for.
  • Buying a fixer-upper probably isn't going to be your best bet, since new homes already have the upgrades that will save you in the long run.