6 Essential Home Buyer Tips for Summer 2022
These tips are good for any market but essential for this one. We all knew this was coming. It is taking a little longer for properties to sell which is giving buyers the opportunity to have some options and a better negotiating position.
Recognizing this shift to a more normal market we will see price reductions, longer days on market and fewer multiple offers. We also must recognize we still have an inventory shortage in many areas so being smart about what to buy is key. So, you have some job and income stability and have some savings. If you are personally ready for home ownership, these are my best tips for buying in the Tampa Bay area now.
Shop for a loan. Use a local lender if possible. Get Pre-approved. Lock in your interest rate.
Plan to be in your home purchase for 10 years. The real estate market cycles up and down. You don't look at your 401k every day. Home equity swings occur. If you think you will need to move in two years, you might lose money. This market is not like the crash of 2008 at least not yet. Owners have plenty of equity if they need to sell and Florida has a good business climate.
Use down payment assistance. If you are buying your first home or otherwise qualify, look for down payment assistance. Not only does it help your cash flow situation, but down payment assistance may also improve your debt-to-income ratios.
Don't overbuy. An income shift may follow what has been a great economy for employees. Avoid buying at the top of your financing range.
Look for a home that is at or slightly below the median price for your target location. It can also be a good idea to choose a location on the fringe of a highly desirable area. Buying the most expensive home in the neighborhood may limit your return on investment when you sell.
Choose a home you can improve, but don't over improve. Many improvements add value as well as appeal, and they will be done to your taste. Adding value is really important in a changing market. Everyone loves a turnkey home, but it is a better financial decision in a shifting market to look for homes that can use improvement, are priced accordingly and you make the improvements yourself. I can help you decide which improvements are cost effective and when to pass on a home that is a money pit.
Bonus tip: Never skip the home inspection. I hear some buyers are skipping the home inspection to make their offer more competitive. Just don't do it. See number 6 above. You also need to know the age and condition of major systems of the home you are investing in. You will then be prepared to replace aging systems in the future with a savings plan. In the past homeowners tapped their home equity for replacements and repairs. It may not be possible to do so in a shifting market in the first years of ownership. It can take some time to achieve equity gains.
In conclusion, there are housing and investment opportunities to be had in this changing market. Sellers are selling and buyers are buying. Interest rates remain comparatively low by historical standards. In a year or two these rates may look very appealing, and you will wish you had jumped in. Rent money on the other hand is totally wasted. One agent I follow puts it like this, "when you rent your interest rate is 100 percent."
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