Getting Real with Real Estate | US Virgin Islands Real Estate Blog

US Virgin Islands Real Estate Blog

Getting Real with Real Estate

By Barbara Birt

It’s a great time to buy on St. Thomas.  There are nearly 20% more homes and condos on the market this year, compared to last.  And the average sale price on homes has declined by 18% this year, and by 13% this year for condos.  But, things are getting snatched up more quickly – good news for sellers.  The average number of days on the market has dropped this year. It is now taking about 290 days  from initial listing to closing, which is 24% fewer days than last year, both for homes and condominiums.

With that in mind, here are a couple tips for buyers. Get pre-approved. That’s when you disclose financial information to a lender, and after review, that lender says – “OK, we’ll give you a mortgage of such-n-such amount.  Start your search.”  Real estate agents will always want to know that you’ve been pre-approved.

And, just because the bank says you are able to borrow such-n-such amount – best that you decide for yourself what level of borrowing you’re comfortable with.  What do you pay now, in rent, or in a mortgage?  Are you stretched?   Many people take one-third of their gross income each month and use that as a basis for what kind of mortgage payment they can afford.  A really prudent buyer will also have six to nine months worth of mortgage payments in the bank – a cushion to cover loss of rental income should your home include rental tenants, or for repairs.

Finally, homeowners stay in their homes for an average of nine years.  The first home you buy isn’t necessarily the last.  Make a sensible purchase, watch the property increase in value (hopefully!) and trade up next time.

And make sure you let the agents at Sea Glass Properties help.

Barbara Birt – Sales Agent – 690-9995

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