If you’ve been in the market for a new house, then you have probably discovered that this is a tough time to be a buyer. Record high inflation, sky-high home prices and low inventory has kept competition steep, with no end in sight. The housing market will calm down – but potentially not for a couple of years.
What if you can’t wait? Here are some tips to help you find a house you love (and can afford!) in a very challenging market:
Buying a house: Know your must haves
Before you begin looking at homes, get very clear on exactly what you want, and where you can be flexible. This is always a good idea when you’re shopping for a home, but it’s especially important right now. Buyers are competing for a smaller number of homes, so the less time you waste looking at properties that won’t work for you, the better.
This is also going to help you put in an offer faster. While it’s not wise to jump into a sale without careful consideration, if you know your must haves in a home in advance, you might spend less time deliberating about putting in an offer.
Buy where cost of living is lower
Prices are higher than usual everywhere, but expensive markets have only gotten pricier. If you’ve had your heart set on a certain location but are feeling squeezed by the prices, try expanding your search to new neighborhoods.
This is where knowing your must-haves comes in very handy. Are you buying a house to be in a certain area, or are you more concerned about the land and home itself? If you know those parameters, it’s going to be easier to open up your search to new areas and properties.
For example, if a large yard is absolutely essential, maybe you’ll be more open to looking farther outside your desired area. But if you want to be no more than 20 minutes from work, you might have to opt for a smaller home.
Research real estate agents
Your real estate agent can make or break your home buying experience. An excellent real estate agent will listen to your needs, stick to your budget and have strong relationships with other real estate professionals that can expedite the home buying process.
Speak to local homeowners to get the names of real estate agents they were happy with, or ask to meet with different agents at reputable brokerages. Someone who worked well for your friend might not be a good fit for you, so make sure you get to talk to them ahead of time.
Do your due diligence when buying a house
Some buyers are forgoing inspections to speed up the buying process. That’s a risky – and potentially expensive – choice. Instead, you could bring someone who is knowledgeable about home improvement along to check out the house first. That way, they might be able to point out any red flags before you get too invested.
Here are some additional resources to help you as you shop for a new home:
About Your Richest Life
At Your Richest Life, Katie Brewer, CFP®, believes you too should have access to financial resources and fee-only financial planning. For more information on the services offered, contact Katie today.