Buffalo-Niagara’s hot real estate market could get hotter

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BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) — If you are looking to turn your rent check into a mortgage payment, now might be the time to make your move.

Amid reports the Buffalo Niagara Region is a hot market for residential real estate, News 4 has learned investors are spending millions of dollars to buy up residential properties across the region.

Figures provided by the Buffalo Niagara Association of Realtors (BNAR) show buying a home is more affordable, here, than in the last three years, and investors are buying up property by the truckload–a combination that could leave would-be home buyers feeling “sticker shock”.

Larry Lentini of the BNAR advises, if you are seriously looking to buy a home for the first time, the first thing to do is check with a bank or mortgage broker to see what you can afford to buy.

“That opens the door for us as realtors to be able to start showing you homes, and show you homes that have what you are looking for in the price range that you are capable of purchasing,” Lentini said.

With the Internet making the search for a home more convenient, there can also be traps, like the one Joanne Borzelleri and Julia Timm of Buffalo fell into when they gave a broker a down payment, in cash, for a home they thought they found on Craigslist, and the broker only returned some of their money when the deal fell through.

The botched home purchase left Timm feeling discouraged, “You have your dreams and your hopes built up and then all of a sudden you have nothing. So you are left like, I will never find a house.”

Julia and Joanne hired Karen Tunis of Metro Roberts Realty who has found a place to the pair’s liking, who offered a couple of tips about home buying.

“Never give anybody cash. If you are going through a contract, they should have the Buffalo Niagara Association of Realtors mark on the top of the contract.”

Once you have committed to your new home, Lentini says the bank will insist on a home inspection, and if serious defects are discovered, it could save you a lot of grief.

He added, a realtor can make your search a lot smoother: “A lot of people search for some number of months before they actually get serious about going out and physically looking. If you do get yourself linked up with somebody, then when you are ready, all the pieces are going to be in place to rock n’ roll.”

Lentini also points out most of the towns and cities in the Buffalo area offer incentives for first time home buyers, such as a break on your closing costs, or outright cash.

He also said a realtor can help you find those kinds of programs, and work with a bank to custom tailor a mortgage deal to fit your specific needs.

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