using my knowledge to buy my primary residence, any advice?

i currently live on long island, NY and i own a house. i think my area market value is $350-375K, i owe 300k, i dont need to move asap but my goal is to move within 2 years before my daughter is old enough to goto school (my current school dist. is horrible) im looking to move into a better school dist in the area. id move today if the situation was right. houses in the area i want are about $425-500. i was thinking of going to the courthouse and looking for pre foreclosures and offering some insulting offers, any advice? also what might help the value of my current house to sell besides the obvious kitchen/bath improvements? also what court do i goto and what exactly do i ask for? any help is greatly appreciated, i love this forum, you guys rock!

going to the courthouse to look for pre foreclosures is a waste of time. working with an agent is much easier - one that pulls foreclosures and pre foreclosures. my office gets a weekly report on pre foreclosures from realty trak. i’m not self-promoting, just mentioning that a realtor can help if they know what they’re doing.

as to adding to your current value - forget it. if you’re in a weak school district or a great school district - unless you’re in a straight up rehab - redoing your kitchen or bath will NOT NET YOU ANY GAIN in your market value.

this market is eating homeowner equity like a shark in shallow water - it’s crazy.

market conditions are being impacted by a credit crunch (limited buyer pool), high gas prices, high oil prices, high taxes, consumer spending decline, overall economic slowdown and the long island market in general is deflating from a ridiculous spike in home prices. THE NUMBER ONE thing impacting home values on long island is the number of homes on the market.

supply is VERY VERY HIGH and the demand is normal to low. i’m not going to say demand is very low, because it is not. there is a large buyer pool out there - just not enough to match supply.

when you’ve got 250 homes on the market in your area - you’ve got competition. if you’re priced even 10k over market - you’re getting 3 in 10 buyers in the door. and “market” is a relative term.

bottom line - forget improving anything in your home. either sell it now or wait three to 5 years (wait for the market to bottom out - winter 09 - and then wait to accrue equity at normal appreciation rates of 5% or so over 2010 through 2013.

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As long as you can work out the problem of timing, or can afford two houses at once.

Yes, you can buy a new house for your own occupancy using the various methods of getting a low priced purchase.

In order to sell your current house, I suggest that you do not do any extensive renovations. Instead, drop the cost of the renovations off your price.

You want your house to be very clean. Have fresh paint and every nick and scratch and loose doorknob repaired. Make sure the yard and gardens are very neat.

In order to sell in a slow market, you must have your house priced in a very attractive manner. The average home buyer is not looking for the same kind of huge mark-down as an investor, but they still want to feel that they are getting a good bargain.

I suggest that you wait until winter is over before you list your house.

why wait till after the winter? as for my kitchen and bath, they are already updated (moderately). i was just wondering if there are other things that can improve, but it seems like i should not do anything else. again im not in a rush, i just want plant the seeds to get into a better school district.

why is it not a good idea, i keep hearing from my local REI club that it is. do they not give me all the info? i dont care if its harder, id rather get the info for free and work a little for it, but is that the only difference?

well it seems like you already decided to do what your rei club told you.
the home you live in now is worth what someone is willing to pay not what your asking price is.
In this market prices are dropping real fast. Get some actual real sale comps from a local agent… sales within the last month or so to get a real world idea of what you can sell your house for.
and if it’s in a bad school district why would someone else want it unless they have no children.
If your child isint ready for school for 2 years it seems like you have plenty of time to market your home.
How can you buy a home elsewhere if you still own one? is it free and clear of mortgages?

When I sold my home a few years ago, all I did was fresh interior paint throughout (off white) and “declutter” all the rooms.

People generally don’t want to move in the winter when the weather is bad. So if you list now, your property will be on the market several months before the spring moving season, and the listing will be stale.

If you list now and prices drop again in the spring, you will have to reduce your price and I aways think that makes it look like something is wrong with the house.

Use the next couple of months to de-clutter and clean and freshen the paint. Then see what prices are in the spring and list under market so that the few buyers will choose yours instead of another one that is much the same but priced higher.

You are aware that it can take some time to purchase a foreclosure or a short sale?

If it were me, I’d do my best to sell in the spring, and then I’d be in a very cheap apartment with my stuff in storage while I found a replacement. Your family may or may not agree to do that.

first and formost, many “preforeclosures” (what that means varies by state) never result in a default. secondly, in most metro areas there is likely a small well-season pack of folks you are doing this for a living so there is competition. Lastly, there are right and wrong techniques to use for buying properties in this siutation. Many states have specifics laws granting rights and protection to homeowners in foreclosure and in the process of making what you might consider “a fair deal” you end up landing yourself is a heap of legal trouble.