Before the pandemic, homeownership was already a difficult task, especially for the majority of Americans. But when a global health crisis and a subsequent recession hit, it became a Herculean task that only a few seemed to be able to finish.
Thankfully, as we see the nation start to rebuild, aspiring homeowners might also be able to finally see their dreams of having their own homes come to fruition. It’s all about good timing, employing the right financial strategy, and finding reputable professionals with your best interests at heart.
If you plan to become a homeowner during these times, here are some pointers to help you achieve your goal.
Get pre-approved for a mortgage
While there are strategies and methods for acquiring a home in today’s competitive market, the one principle you should always remember is that it’s essential to get a pre-approved mortgage before you begin your house-hunting journey. Having a preapproval in your arsenal shows sellers that your finances are intact, that you are a trustworthy buyer, and that you are at a point in your life wherein you’re ready to make the big move. Without a preapproval, there’s a bigger chance that sellers won’t even look twice at you as a potential buyer.
Prioritize homes under your budget
During volatile economic times, we can be sure that the market is rabid and that there will be dozens if not hundreds of bidders for one home at any given point. This is a reality for the housing market in the U.S. right now. As a buyer, this might mean that you need to look for properties that are below your budget so that you have the option of bidding up.
When you try to put down an offer for a home that’s at the top of your budget, you run a high risk of other buyers outbidding you. Just do your research and ask around to ensure that this tip will work in the area you’re trying to buy a house in.
Research your area
While there are general rules of thumb that we can look to when it comes to home buying, specific towns or neighborhoods would still have different trends. The above pointer might work for specific areas, but it may not be true for your own. Make sure to do your own research, ask the agents, and look at how market trends from the past came and went so you can have a general idea of how the housing situation in your area usually works.
Don’t rush the process
It’s common for people to borrow money to purchase a home, and when this is the case, you need to give yourself extra time. When borrowing money to make the down payment, you have to ensure that this process is factored into your timeline so that brokers will see where your funds are coming from. They need to see the source of your income and that they are legitimate and valid.
Partner with the best real estate agent
Here’s a home buying secret that’s not a secret: Having an excellent real estate agent is your best weapon. Those who are good at what they do would have the negotiation skills needed to give you the best possible deal, and they would have keen insight into the neighborhood that you’re interested in. They would also have helpful connections and networks, which should benefit you as a home buyer.
Here are some tips for finding the best real estate agent for you:
- Ask about their experiences. This means looking into how many properties they could sell in the last year, especially during the pandemic.
- Read reviews on Yelp and Google, and scour their website for information.
- Get referrals from clients they have worked with and see if they were happy with their service.
Avoid getting too attached until you win the house
Experts call it a crisis because the market is so competitive that you need to protect your heart from being too attached to a property, especially during the bidding process. You need to be prepared for the very real possibility of others outbidding you, so you can protect yourself from major disappointment, or worse, being too desperate that you make detrimental financial decisions.
Buying a home in these difficult times need not be a wholly impossible task. Do your homework, don’t settle for less than the best people to partner with, and strategize well, and you might be able to acquire the home of your dreams.