Trying to buy a house is incredibly frustrating right now amid such a steep housing shortage. Even if you’re in good shape financially, you have to be very careful and clever to land the home of your dreams. With that difficulty in mind, here are a few tips for navigating the current housing market.
1. Use a realtor or a real estate agent
Use a realtor or a real estate agent, not a site or an app. Realtors and agents know when houses are for sale before the houses are officially put on the market. These days, many homes are never listed publicly because they sell before they’re listed (which is called a “pocket listing”).
2. Be ready to prove your buying power
You’ll need a mortgage loan pre-approval—not just a pre-qualification. A pre-qualification gives you an estimate of what you could borrow, but a pre-approval provides a conditional offer to lend you a specific amount. This demonstrates that the bank believes you are financially reliable, making sellers much more likely to pick you.
3. Be ready to tour a house
Be ready to tour a house without much notice. There’s only a narrow window between a home being ready for viewing and an offer being accepted. If you wait to see the house tomorrow, you may be too late.
4. Be prepared to make an offer
Be prepared to make an offer shortly after viewing the home if you decide you want to buy it. Because the competition is fierce, you need to get in right away, or you may miss out.
5. But only make an offer on what you truly want and can afford
It’s easy to get caught up in the hustle and whirlwind of the current housing market. But this is one of the biggest purchases you will ever make. You won’t just live with it, you’ll live in it. So the decision deserves consideration, specifically regarding whether you really do want a particular house and whether you can truly afford it.
6. To prepare for such a swift decision
Develop a clear but flexible description of the house you want. You can separate features into must-haves and would-likes, and you can even give each item a weight or ranking. Don’t be afraid to include a few intangibles, like “has personality” or “feels right,” but also focus on specifics that will affect your daily life.
7. Meet your needs and desires
Then, when you view a house, you can record its features in your formula for a quick gut check: does it really meet your needs and desires? That will help you avoid getting swept up in a bidding war for a house you don’t really love.
8. Consider moving farther away from the city center.
Housing prices and home-buying competition usually decrease when you look outside urban areas. (If you work from home, this might be an appealing option since it will decrease your monthly payment but won’t increase your commute.)
Let us know if you’d like more information about navigating the housing shortage. We would love to provide guidance as you make this weighty, exciting and sometimes confusing decision. 616 Realty is here for all your questions, concerns, and requests.