Choosing a Home That Fits You
Homebuying is still posing a challenge across the country in many markets. One of the biggest concerns is a lack of inventory, with more people looking to buy homes than people looking to sell. This situation might be leading you to considering different types of housing to purchase. If you are wondering what type of home may be a good choice for you, consider some of the below points before pivoting your search.
Who Else is Home Shopping?
According to USA Today, Millennials make up 43% of homebuyers, which is up 5% from last year. More individuals from the younger generations are growing to the point where they want to settle down, plant roots, and perhaps start a family. Of all house shoppers, first-time homebuyers made up 34% of them – and they’ve been successfully beating out cash-rich investors.
Younger, hopeful homeowners are starting to recognize the value of owning a home above not only permanent residence, but a store of long-term wealth and an opportunity to build a solid financial foundation for future generations. Add to the equation that rent prices around the country have skyrocketed with the recent pandemic, and oftentimes we’re seeing a mortgage payment ringing up less than a rental payment.
Preferences for younger homeowners has shifted from downtown high-rises to comfortable and safe suburban neighborhoods. Baby boomers are not just sitting around though – many are seeking their forever homes, somewhere to age in place, or purchasing a second property.
Is it Worth it to Brave this Challenging Housing Market and Forge Ahead?
We understand that an ever-changing market can be scary, especially if it’s your first time navigating the waters. This is a huge reason that it’s important to build a solid team to walk with you along the way, such as a real estate agent you trust, and an independent mortgage lender to lay out all the details in a digestible way.
According to Realtor.com, some of the top reasons that homebuyers were not dissuading from buying in this market were wanting to move closer to friends or family, change in family dynamic, such as a child or a marriage, moving to a safer neighborhood, and wanting a larger residence. In the last couple years, we saw a red-hot market – bidding wars, waived inspections, even buyers seriously compromising on their wish list. This led to a years-long shortage of homes for sale, and it wasn’t uncommon for homes to sell before they even hit the market. The recent market changes have moved buyers to shift their expectations and seek out different housing opportunities. Some buyers are now considering condominiums or townhouses, while others are widening their search area and exploring smaller markets to find a home that is in their budget.
How Can I Feel More Secure in My Housing Hunt?
Sellers want to work with buyers who are serious about purchasing a home. This is a big reason that I encourage you to consider getting pre-qualified, or even better, pre-approved. Showing up to an open house with a pre-approval letter shows the seller that you are ready to make an offer if the home fits you. It also helps you to narrow down realistic pricing parameters for your real estate agent to work within to ensure you stay within budget.
Pre-approval usually only takes a few days to complete and involves supplying your overall financial picture. Keep in mind that a pre-qualification is only an estimate and does not work off an in-depth analysis of a credit report, nor a thorough look at your ability to purchase a new home. In other words, pre-qualification is a good indication of a homebuyer’s creditworthiness and ability to borrow, while pre-approval is the definitive answer from the mortgage lender.
When getting pre-approved, your lender will review your paystubs, tax returns, bank statements, and credit history. After a thorough review, you will be issued a pre-approval letter that includes an estimated interest rate offer and maximum principal amount. Working with a lender that understands your personal financial goals is imperative to ensuring that the homebuying process goes smoothly and helps to guide you on a painless road home.
I’m Ready to Start Looking, What Are My Options?
Once you’ve determined a budget, have that pre-approval letter, and solidified a great team behind you, you’re ready to start looking at houses. There are a wide range of choices, from single-family homes, to townhomes, to condos. Consider what you are looking for (ex: are you hoping for a private basement for rental income, does sharing a wall or a driveway bother you, do you prefer to have an HOA do the yardwork) to build a baseline and eliminate confusion out of the gate.
When imagining buying a house, many homebuyers immediately picture the standalone home, up on a hill, with a white picket fence. There are many options of styles, such as bungalows, ranch style, or tudor homes, and often appeal to those who appreciate privacy, potential for more storage space, outdoor areas, and sole decisions on making changes to the property.
In this case, a homeowner purchases an individual unit within a community of several. You sometimes can share amenities such as a gym or a pool, and they are sometimes considered more affordable than other types of homes. However, it is important to consider other parts of condos such as HOA costs, improvement charges, and limited privacy.
A townhouse is regarded as a multi-floor home with its own entrance that shares one or two walls with a neighboring townhome. Many buyers are drawn to purchase this type of home due to the smaller footprint, and the fact that they often come with an HOA to take care of yardwork and exterior maintenance.
This type of house is a single housing unit that is designed to accommodate more than one family living independently. Sometimes a buyer may purchase the whole building with the intent to live in one part and rent out the others. Another benefit to this type of home is the ability to maintain close-but-separate living space for a relative or aging parent.
The main takeaway from all this: do your research before jumping into any decisions. Working with a trusted and knowledgeable independent mortgage lender will help you to narrow down your options based on your personal situation, as you will form a one-on-one relationship and really have the opportunity to share your goals. Work on that pre-approval to set yourself some financial parameters, and always ask questions. My goal is to get you into the home you feel happy in.
To learn more about house shopping in the current market and finding the type of home that is right for you, reach out to me and my team – we’re here to help.