Over the past decade, the real estate market turned from a buyer’s market to a seller’s market. More recent college graduates, newlyweds and others on the search to buy that first house might find themselves needing to hunt a little deeper as “cheap” first-time homes are disappearing as we speak. In fact, according to an article by Forbes.com, millennials are entering a housing market where there are basically no more affordable starter homes at all.
Whether you’re looking to purchase a home in New Jersey, Los Angeles, Houston, or another city, here are some tips to help you enter the housing market and house purchasing process.
Have a Plan of Attack
It’s essential to know what you want before you go searching for it. Really take a good look at the area you’re looking to buy in, and be sure to evaluate the neighborhood, neighbors, parks, and other local amenities before committing to a location. If you’re looking for your first home in Washington, DC for example, you may have to think outside the box. Those hip, trendy enclaves and leafy suburbs may be out of reach financially. A real estate agent can help you understand which areas have characteristics that are similar to your favorite neighborhoods but have managed to go undiscovered by the masses as of yet.
Contact a Real Estate Agent
Speaking of a real estate agent, no matter what your situation, having a buyer’s agent on your side is a good idea. Getting started with researching the house purchasing process and looking at what’s out there is a good start, but it can only take you so far. While you might find some useful tips and hints, it’s best to get in touch with a local professional who is up to date on all the current information for the particular area you’re interested in buying.
Getting prequalified for a loan is really a must before you even think about house hunting to avoid wasting time and possible disappointment. It will allow you to know exactly how much home you can afford, and sellers will take you more seriously too. In fact, some seller’s agents automatically reject buyers who haven’t gone through the preapproval process already.
Keep an Eye on Mortgage Rates
Speaking of keeping things current, you’ll need to keep a close eye on current mortgage rates. Many millennial buyers have found out only too late that it can cost them money waiting to buy that house, but at the same time there can be dips in the rate too. You’ll want to be certain that all the data you’re looking at is up-to-date.