A Crucial First Step: Mortgage Pre-Approval
- Mortgage pre-approval means a lender has reviewed your finances and, based on factors like your income, debt, and credit history, determined how much you’re qualified to borrow.
- Being pre-approved for a loan can give you clarity while planning your homebuying budget, confidence in your ability to secure a loan, and helps sellers know your offer is serious.
- Connect with a trusted professional to learn more and start your homebuying process today.
Buyers Are Regaining Some of Their Negotiation Power in Today’s Housing Market
If you’re thinking about buying a home today, there’s welcome news. Even though it’s still a sellers’ market, it’s a more moderate sellers’ market than last year. And the days of feeling like you may need to waive contingencies or pay drastically over asking price to get your offer considered may be coming to a close.
Today, you should have less competition and more negotiating power as a buyer. That’s because the intensity of buyer demand and bidding wars is easing this year. So, if bidding wars were the biggest factor that had you sitting on the sidelines, here are two trends that may be just what you need to re-enter the market.
1. The Return of Contingencies
Over the last two years, more buyers were willing to skip important steps in the homebuying process, like the appraisal or inspection, to try to win a bidding war. But now, fewer people are waiving the inspection and appraisal.
The latest data from the National Association of Realtors (NAR) shows the percentage of buyers waiving their home inspection and appraisal is declining. And a recent survey from realtor.com confirms more sellers are accepting offers that include these conditions today. According to their August study:
- 95% of sellers reported buyers requested a home inspection
- 67% of sellers negotiated with buyers on repairs as a result of the inspection findings
This goes to show buyers are more able to include these conditions in their offers today and negotiate as needed based on the outcome of the inspection.
2. Sellers Are More Willing To Help with Closing Costs
Generally, closing costs range between 2% and 5% of the purchase price for the home. Before the pandemic, it was a common negotiation tactic for sellers to cover some of the buyer’s closing costs to sweeten the deal. This didn’t happen as much during the peak buyer frenzy over the past two years.
Today, as the market shifts and demand slows, data from realtor.com suggests this is making a comeback. A recent article shows 32% of sellers paid some or all of their buyer’s closing costs. This may be a negotiation tool you’ll see as you go to purchase a home. Just keep in mind, limits on closing cost credits are set by your lender and can vary by state and loan type. Work closely with your loan advisor to understand how much a seller can contribute to closing costs in your area.
Regardless of the extremely competitive housing market of the past several years, today’s data suggests negotiations are starting to come back on the table. This is good news if you’re planning to enter the housing market. To find out how the market is shifting in our area, let’s connect.
Three Things Buyers Can Do in Today’s Housing Market
It’s clear the 2022 housing market has been defined by rising mortgage rates. With rates on the rise, it’s also become more costly to purchase a home. According to the National Association of Realtors (NAR):
“Compared to one year ago, the monthly mortgage payment rose to $1,944 from $1,265, an increase of 53.7%.”
If you’re thinking of buying a home or have been trying to recently, that’s a big increase in a monthly mortgage payment – and it may be causing you to press pause on your plans. This jump is making homes less affordable, especially compared to the last two years when mortgage rates were at historic lows.
The good news is you can navigate today’s housing market and this rising rate environment with a few simple tips. Here are three things you may want to consider to help make your homeownership goals a reality.
1. Expand Your Search Area and Criteria
If you’ve been looking for a home in the city center or a specific area that’s starting to feel out of your price range, you may want to try looking a little further out in a location that could be more affordable. Expanding your search location or re-prioritizing the items on your wish list can open up opportunities you haven’t considered, and that could help you afford more of what you need (and want) in a home. As CNET notes:
“Area growth is likely to keep pace with the market, which means that the outskirts of town might be hopping within five years. Consider stepping out of your ideal location by searching in the nearby cities. You may find better prices and more square footage.”
2. Explore Alternative Financing Options
Working with a trusted lender to learn about the different loan types and options is essential too. According to Nerd Wallet:
“A variety of mortgages are available with varying down payment and eligibility requirements.”
Experts know how to point you in the right direction when it comes to exploring ways to find the best home loan for your situation. With rising mortgage rates making it more costly to finance a home today, there may be an ideal option out there your loan officer can introduce you to. This could make a home purchase more affordable and within your financial reach over the life of your loan.
3. Look for Grants, Gift Funds, and Down Payment Assistance
There are also many options available when it comes to securing the funding you need to purchase a home. One valuable resource to explore is downpaymentresource.com. Searching for specific down payment assistance options available in your local community could be a game changer when it comes to taking your first step toward homeownership. As NAR indicates:
“Many local governments and non-profit organizations offer down-payment assistance grants and loans, targeted to area borrowers and often with specific borrower requirements.”
Plus, there are programs and special benefits for individuals working in certain professions or with unique statuses, including teachers, doctors and nurses, and veterans.
Ultimately, that means there are many federal, state, and local programs available for you to explore. The best way to do that is to connect with a local real estate professional and your lender to learn more about what’s available in your area.
If you’ve been searching for a home and have found yourself stepping out of the process because you’re worried about rising costs, let’s connect. Having a team of local advisors on your side may be just what you need to guide your search in a new and more affordable direction.
Getting Your House Ready To Sell? Work with an Agent for Expert Advice
In a market that’s shifting as fast as it is today, many homeowners wonder what, if anything, needs to be renovated before they sell their house. That’s where a trusted real estate professional comes in. They can help you think through today’s market conditions and how they impact what you should – and shouldn’t – do before selling your house.
Here are some considerations a professional will guide you through.
What You Need To Know About Your Local Market
Since the supply of homes for sale has increased so much this year, today’s buyers have more options than they had last year. That may mean you’re not able to ignore some of those repairs or cosmetic updates you could have skipped in previous months. As a recent article from realtor.com says:
“To stand out in the market, sellers should make their home attractive to buyers, which usually means some selective updates.”
The key word here is selective. Since it’s still a sellers’ market, focusing on a few key areas may be enough to make your house stand out from other options. And since inventory is still low overall, it’s also possible buyers may be willing to handle the renovations themselves once they move in. It all depends on buyer demand and the available inventory in your local area. For advice on what’s happening in your market and what to do to make your house show well, lean on a professional.
Not All Renovation Projects Are Equal
In addition to making sure your house makes a good first impression, you’ll also want to consider the return on your investment (ROI) for any renovations. According to the 2022 Remodeling Impact Report from the National Association of Realtors (NAR), here are the projects that could net you the best return when you sell your house (see visual below):
Again, your real estate advisor is your best resource. When your agent comes to your house for a walk-thru and consultation, they’ll use their expertise to offer any insight into what you may need to repair, replace, or refinish. They also know what other sellers are doing before listing their homes and how buyers are reacting to those upgrades to help steer you in the right direction. As Dr. Jessica Lautz, Vice President of Demographics and Behavioral Insights for NAR, explains:
“This year, the winner was hardwood flooring. Hardwood floor refinishing and putting in new wood flooring had the most significant value, . . .”
How To Draw Buyer Attention to the Upgrades You’ve Made
For any projects you’ve already completed or for those you plan to do before listing, make sure your real estate professional knows. They’re not just an advisor to help you decide where to focus your efforts, they’re also skilled at highlighting any upgrades in your listing. That way, potential buyers know about the features that may help sell them on the house.
No matter what, contact a local real estate professional for expert advice on what work needs to be done and how to make it as appealing as possible to future buyers. Every home is different, so a conversation with your agent is mission-critical to make sure you make the right moves when selling this season.
In today’s shifting market, it’s important to spend your time and money wisely when you’re getting ready to move. Let’s connect to find out where to focus your efforts before you sell.