I don’t think it is too early to start talking about the spring selling season, especially since even more people than last year are expected to be looking as result of improving financial conditions.
We continue to see and hear from clients that it is difficult to find a home which fits their needs and budget. What this means is, finding a home may take longer than expected. Our advice, be patient and prepared.
Here are three tips for you to consider:
Mortgage rates are low now, but the general consensus is they will be moving up and may be volatile in the next few months. Make sure you understand the average interest rate you read or hear about is not necessarily the rate which will apply to you. The specific rate you get is a product of several factors, including the lender, the loan type, when you applied, the home and its location, the nature of the purchase, and, of course, your credit history and financial circumstances.
What you can afford to buy is significantly affected by the specific mortgage options available to you. If you can’t afford a 20% down payment, you’ll also face mortgage insurance premiums that get added to the monthly payment. Due to recent changes by housing agencies, you now have more options for low-down-payment programs and even lower mortgage insurance premiums than were available last year. But that also means you need to think through what is best for you and your circumstances.
2. New Construction
In our Sacramento area where new home are being built, don’t assume a brand-new home is out of your price range. While new-home prices have indeed increased at a faster rate than existing-home prices in recent years that is partly because low demand from first-time buyers encouraged builders to feature bigger and more expensive homes. In the Sacramento area, a good number of new homes for sale are within budget for households earning the median income. Having a new home built for you is one way to solve the problem of not being able to find a home on the market that fits your needs. Remember, when considering new construction; take your Realtor with you on the first visit. They have the experience to negotiate with your builder and often can save you thousands of dollars and best of all; they are paid by the builder.
3. Use an expert local Realtor
This is the best piece of advice I can give anyone looking to buy a home. Find a good Realtor to help you through the home-buying journey. This agent should have experience and insight which is critical to helping you find the right neighborhood and home, negotiating the best deal for you, and completing the process as smoothly as possible.