2018 is shaping up to be a great year for buying a home! Home sales were up 20% by the end of 2017, and it looks like that trend will continue this year. That could make 2018 the strongest year for real estate in decades.
Consumer confidence in the housing market seems stronger than it’s been since the housing crash of 2008. With over half the year remaining, smart buyers will consider all challenges when it comes to buying a home of their dreams.
Rising markets can mean that homes in your price range are hard to come by. Eugene has experienced a tight housing market for a while now, with limited homes available in any price range. Be prepared and be realistic when buying a home. Your perfect home is out there, but you may need to be flexible about your dream home looks like. It may be worth giving up that extra bedroom or a little yard space to get into a house that has the potential to grow into the home you love. Bigger isn’t always better. Bigger often comes with a bigger mortgage that can take a while to recoup in appreciation with respect to the other homes in your neighborhood. Set your emotions aside and go with your instincts. Almost everything in a house can be changed to suit you, so look for the best value for your buck.
Check out the listings in your desired neighborhood and price range. When you find something you like, pounce on it. Often, being the first to bid a fair offer will often give you priority. Review property listing sites and set up alerts on homes that meet your criteria. Consider buying a home during the off-seasons. Winter and early spring are good times to search because there are fewer buyers and sellers are much more willing to negotiate.
If you’re new to house-hunting, you may find it helpful to enlist the help of an experienced realtor. Realtors know your area better than anyone. They know what’s out there, how to work with sellers’ realtors, and can advise you on everything from reasonable bids to homes you should just walk away from.
Check your finances and get them in line before you begin to look for a home. Review your credit report and start correcting errors and repair negative information. Start saving for your down payment as soon as you can. If you’re going to enlist help from family to borrow, then make those arrangements sooner rather than later.
Talk to your bank about getting pre-approved for a mortgage. A pre-approval means the bank has already reviewed your financial situation and determined how much home you are qualified to buy. This saves you valuable time when you start house-hunting and it ensures that you’re shopping for a home you can afford. It also allows you to shop around for the best interest rates.
Become a house-stalker. Check out the neighborhood in which you’re thinking about buying a home. Do a drive-by in the morning and in the evening. Get the lay of the land. Observe neighbors and traffic. Many home owners have been completely disappointed by activity in the neighborhood after they purchase a home. Check your work commute by driving from your new neighborhood to your workplace. Evaluate schools, even if you don’t have kids because schools affect your property value.
Buying a home is a big life event. It affects you and your family emotionally and financially. Take time now to get your ducks in a row for the best house-hunting experience and you’ll soon be on the way to finding your perfect home.