After years of decline the housing market has begun to bounce back. In some places the market has fully recovered. Low mortgage rates and a demand to purchase new property is encouraging homebuyers to begin buying again. In the past year alone home prices have increased in over 90 of the top 100 metro areas. It appears that the worst is behind us and the housing market will only improve in the coming years.
So you’re in the market for a new home. There are some things you can do to ensure you get the home of your dreams.
Because there isn’t a lot of inventory, buyers often end up in bidding wars on property, with the house going, of course, to the highest bidder. With that in mind don’t waste your or the sellers time with low-ball offers. Homes these days are selling pretty close to the list price and it’s best not to make an offer for anything less than 4% below the list price.
You also cannot buy a house based on looks alone. Do your research. Look into the area and do price comparisons. It can also be helpful to get information on the location from existing neighbors. This can give you a better idea of the full picture before you make an offer.
It is important to create a financial plan to determine if now is actually a good time for you to buy. Just because the market is improving, does not mean it is necessarily a good time for you to buy. Create a plan to determine what you can afford to purchase and how much you can afford each month.
Play it smart when choosing financing. It is common knowledge that small banks and even credit unions offer lower rates; but they also tend to be less strict in underwriting. To ensure you are getting the best deal, get lending estimates from one financial institution and show it to another lender and see if they think they can beat it or are at least willing to match it. This tactic often works because lenders are willing to offer better pricing than their competitors.
There are a number of other things you can do as a buyer to ensure you’re getting a good deal such as saving for a down payment, finding an agent, getting an appraisal and home inspection, and getting a copy of your credit report. It is important to correct any errors, or fix any problems on your report before starting the lending process.