(5 Minute Read) – Buying a home is one of the biggest investments most people will make in their lifetime, and in today’s economy, it can be a particularly daunting task.
With today’s economic uncertainty, it’s important to understand what you need to know before making such a big decision.
Here are the five things you need to know about buying a home in today’s economy, from understanding market trends to securing financing and negotiating the sale.
Understand the Current Market Trends
The real estate market is constantly changing, and it’s important to keep up with the latest trends in order to make an informed decision when buying a home. In today’s economy, we’re seeing a few key trends that buyers should be aware of:
- Low inventory: Across the country, there’s a shortage of homes for sale, which means that buyers may face stiff competition when making an offer.
- Rising prices: With demand outpacing supply, home prices have been steadily increasing. This can make it more difficult for first-time buyers to find an affordable home.
- Higher interest rates: While interest rates have been rising, there are still plenty of options to get into a home today. Your trusted local home loan experts at Unitus Mortgage can help explain all of your options.
Get Your Finances in Order
Before you start looking at homes, it’s important to get your finances in order. This includes:
- Saving for a down payment: Depending on the type of loan you’re applying for; you may need to put down anywhere from 3% to 20% of the purchase price as a down payment. However, Unitus Mortgage does offer some $0-down financing options.
- Checking your credit score: Your credit score will play a big role in determining whether you’re approved for a mortgage and what interest rate you’ll be offered. You can check your credit score in Unitus digital banking and take steps to improve it if necessary.
- Getting pre-approved for a mortgage: Before you start house hunting, it’s a good idea to get pre-approved for a mortgage. This will give you a clear idea of what you can afford and will make you a more attractive buyer to sellers. One of our local home loan experts would be happy to help you get pre-approved.
Work with a Real Estate Agent
Navigating the real estate market can be tricky, especially in today’s economy. That’s why it’s important to work with a reputable real estate agent who can help you find the right home at the right price. A good agent will:
- Help you navigate the home buying process: From finding homes that meet your criteria to negotiating the sale, your agent can guide you through every step of the process.
- Provide valuable market insights: A knowledgeable agent will have a deep understanding of the local real estate market and can provide valuable insights into pricing and trends.
- Advocate on your behalf: When it comes time to make an offer, your agent can negotiate on your behalf to help you get the best possible deal.
- You can select a realtor through our HomeAdvantage® program and can even earn a cash reward at closing that you can use however you like!
Be Prepared to Move Quickly
With low inventory and high demand, homes are selling quickly in many markets. That means you need to be prepared to move quickly if you find a home you love. This includes:
- Getting pre-approved for a mortgage: As mentioned earlier, getting pre-approved for a mortgage will put you in a stronger position to make an offer quickly. Contact Unitus Mortgage to start the process.
- Being flexible with your schedule: You may need to be available to view homes on short notice or attend open houses over the weekend.
- Making a strong offer: When you find a home you love, be prepared to make a strong offer that’s in line with current market conditions.
Don’t Overextend Yourself
While it can be tempting to stretch your budget in order to buy your dream home, it’s important to be realistic about what you can afford. This means:
- Sticking to your budget: Determine how much house you can afford based on your income, debts, and other expenses, and stick to that budget.
- Being realistic about future expenses: Remember that owning a home comes with additional expenses, such as property taxes, homeowners’ insurance, and maintenance and repairs. Be sure to factor these costs into your budget when determining what you can afford. You can also use our handy home affordability calculator to help build your budget.
- Understanding your loan: Make sure you fully understand the terms of any loan product before signing on the dotted line. Our local home loan experts will explain everything to you—from your monthly payment, to escrow options, to your closing costs.
Ready to learn more about the home buying process? Our partners at GreenPath Financial Wellness offer a free online course on buying a home you can access as one of your many Unitus member benefits. You can also check out one of our Home Buying seminars, hosted by the local home loan experts at Unitus Mortgage. Whether you’re ready to make an offer today or you’re just getting started, we’re here to help you with every step of your home buying journey.
1$1,500 credit must be used to pay closing costs and prepaids. These include items such as: loan origination, appraisal, credit report, discount fees for paying down a rate, flood, tax service, impound reserves, and third party fees. Seller credits will be applied first. Any excess credit will not be given as cash.
2Cash Rewards are awarded through the HomeAdvantage program to buyers and sellers who select and use a real estate agent in the HomeAdvantage network. Home buyers or sellers are not eligible for Cash Rewards if they use an agent outside this network. Cash Rewards amounts are dependent on the commissions paid to the HomeAdvantage network agent. Obtaining a mortgage or use of any specific lending institution is not a requirement to earn Cash Rewards. If you are obtaining a mortgage, your lender may have specific rules on how Cash Rewards can be paid out. Cash Rewards are available in most states; however, are void where prohibited by law or by the lender. Please consult with your lender for details that may affect you.