The local housing market tends to heat up when temperatures do.

"You always see it heat up a little bit in the Spring," said Shivani Peterson, a Mortgage Advisor with All Western Mortgage.   "With the reduction in interest rates and the supply and demand problem we have locally, it's insane right now with how many buyers are trying to purchase homes and how quickly you have to make a move."

So is it a good time to by?

"I think that question is very specific to you, your family and your personal budget," Peterson said.  "A lot of people are sad right now; they think they missed the boat, they should have bought when home prices were lower - but maybe you weren't in the best financial position to buy then.   If you are now, the best thing you can do is get into the market with a realistic mindset and look at his as a financial opportunity rather that just finding the perfect home."

There are a lot of things to consider when you jump into the housing market - one of the biggest mistakes a lot of new buyers make is settling for a monthly payment they're not comfortable with. 

"We're going to find out the maximum loan amount you qualify for," Peterson said.  From there you really want to work backwards to find a monthly payment you feel comfortable with because everyone knows if you don't like your monthly payment, you're quickly going to hate your house.  What i would suggest is before you go look at your home, know the  mortgage payment and your total cash to close.  You'd be surprised how much that affects the way you feel seeing that home for the first time."

It's a good idea to find a realtor and lender you trust, and to be honest about your financial situation.  Ask the right  questions.

"Conventional real estate advice would be shop around with multiple lenders," Peterson said.   "I'm going to suggest you don't share your personal information all around town and have your credit pulled multiple times.  Instead, ask better questions of the lenders you do interview.  Ask them what's your experience in the real estate market and what's your track record for closing on time. Also ask a lender, what can you tell me about loan programs and financing strategies that google can't, and ask the lender, what are your long term plan for me?  After closing, how are you going to help me achieve my other financial goals?  I think that will save you time and keep your information more private."

She says there are more than 46,000 renters in Reno right now who qualify to buy but aren't making a move.  Lenders can help find programs to work with a specific budget.

"You don't need a prefect credit score, you don't need a lot of money down," Peterson said.   "We can research the loan programs for you anywhere from zero down to 20% or more down so we will find the right program for you.  It just may take a little longer for some people than others."

Another tip?  Don't start with a price that's way too low.

"Now is not the time to lowball sellers to get a good offer," Peterson said.   "There's other ways to get a good deal besides offering a low price so you'll have to look into those with your realtor, think of other ways to negotiate.   Right now if you really want a home, come in with a good offer right away."

Homes that are priced properly are moving fast, and it's a good idea to be realistic with your expectations.

"We hear a lot in the news about the housing crisis and it's true we have a serious shortage of homes in Reno," Peterson said.   "But if you're realistic with your expectations you can qualify to buy something - and it's an attainable thing for most people in Reno - then you'll be on the other side of the supply and demand issue for years to come and you'll gain the benefits of the appreciation in home values we are going to see."