Home Buying Is Harder Than Ever

If you have been looking for a new home this spring, you know how fast homes are selling and how few homes there are. This makes for a lot of tension, especially for first-time home buyers, and more competition than we’ve seen in a decade.

Newly built homes did not come on the market as quickly in 2016 as was predicted. In addition, there is a shortage of entry-level homes. Some say this is because sellers are anxious to wait until market conditions are more stable and because inventory is low for the potential seller as well.

Inventory may start to fly even faster this spring for many reasons including:

  • With new technology, homes spend less time on the market than ever before. According to a Redfin report, new houses stayed on the market for an average 52 days in 2016. This was the lowest number since it started keeping track in 2009.
  • Millennial buyers are entering the housing market. The younger generation has started to grow up and want to buy homes. Many of these will be buyers for the first time. Look for advances in technology being driven by this generation. Many younger buyers want to streamline the process and be able to make an offer online.
  • Rising interest rates and better mortgage availability. While interest rates have risen from where they were at the end of 2016, the Trump presidency may mean a relaxation of the rules to make it easier for people to borrow.

5 Tips As You Start House Hunting

If you are one of those people who has decided to hop on the bandwagon this spring and is already frightened by the prospects of bidding wars and settling for half of what you wanted, take a moment to read these tips:

Make Sure You Have Your Offer in Hand

In other words, don’t go looking at a bunch of homes and wear yourself out if you’re not sure how much you can offer. Take the time to find out what your highest offer can be - with closing costs and taxes factored in - and stay firm in your mind with that number.

It’s like wedding dress shopping: you don’t want to fall in love with something above your budget. It’s best not to even look at something you can’t afford. Plus, once you do find “the one” you want to be able to make an offer right away.

If You Can Make it a Cash Offer, Do it

You might not think you can make a cash offer, but if it’s just a short-term cash offer, it might be more doable. There are plenty of foreclosures still sitting, or coming, on the market that want cash offers.

This is not because these homes are unlivable, but might be because banks don’t want to turn on utilities and get inspections. If you can get a temporary cash offer together, and then get an inspection and mortgage right away afterward, you might just open a whole new sector of the market for yourself.

Seriously Consider How Much of a Fixer-upper You’re Willing to Put Up With

It’s no secret the homes going the fastest are move-in ready homes with all the best finishes. Even homes needing cosmetic help are going to go fast. Consider how much “finish” you truly need, or how much renovation you would be willing to do.

Broaden Your Horizons - Location, Price, Must-have’s

Were you really hoping for that 4th bedroom, but you know in the back of your mind you don’t need it? These are the points on the list it pays to be flexible with.

If you can give your realtor more room to work, you will see a lot more options. Maybe driving 20 extra minutes to work isn’t as big of a deal, or maybe you’re willing to sacrifice square footage in favor of being close to everything you love. There’s no harm in investigating those options during your search.

Stay Positive

Through it all, it doesn’t help to get too down. New homes are being built, and the Trump administration wants to make it easier for builders. And who knows? Maybe new potential sellers will see how great it is out there this spring and decide to go for it too.

Take Away

If you are ready to start house hunting, you just need to hone your priorities, keep an open mind, and keep looking. You will find something. And we want to do everything we can to make that happen! Please give us a call today.