The COVID-19 pandemic played a large part in the current strong housing market. Bidding wars have been predominant for the past year and a half. Now that the interest rates are starting to rise, the competition is getting even stronger. Here are five new rules to follow when buying a home in 2022.
1. Lock in a mortgage before you start your search
In the past, homebuyers would find a home and then get pre-approved. This is not the case in 2022 because of the strong demand. This fast-paced market makes it essential to get pre-approved before you start the homes search process.
“You should be pre-approved by a lender and knowledgeable about your finances before you even begin your home search,” says Beverly Burris, an agent with William Means Real Estate in Charleston, SC. “With houses going under contract as quickly as they are right now, often within days or sometimes hours of going to market, there is no sense in going to see a property before speaking to a lender and learning what you can afford.”
2. Shop for homes priced below what you can afford
Once you get pre-approved you then know how much you can afford. Homebuyers in the past have purchased a home on the high end of their mortgage approval and that resulted in a recession. Today, homebuyers are encouraged to purchase a home below the top of their price range.
“These days, houses are selling for more than their list price and, as a buyer, you’re more than likely going to end up in a bidding war,” Lori Ozley, a manager with Birmingham HomeBuyers explains. “If you look at properties that are under your budget, you’ll have room to submit a competitive offer that goes above the asking price.”
3. If you love a property, act fast
Purchasing a home is a big deal so most homebuyers want to think on it before they make the big leap. Today’s market does not afford homebuyers this luxury.
“If you are interested in a property, you must act quickly or you risk losing out to another offer. When you really like a property, you should sit down with your real estate agent, go through the comp research, and work on putting together an offer the very same day,” says Bill Samuel, the agent and investor behind Blue Ladder Development.
4. Put your big number out there from the start
When it comes to purchasing property, negotiations have always been part of the process. This is not the case today in this hot market. Homebuyers need to put their best offer forward at first.
“Be prepared to make your best and final offer from the beginning,” advises Jodi Dougherty, a luxury broker at Downtown Realty Company in Chicago. “Since sellers often receive multiple full-price offers, you may not get an opportunity to counteroffer if you come in too low.”
5. It will probably take multiple tries before you succeed
Don’t give up, there are tons of other homebuyers looking at the same homes in the same market. It might take more than once to put your best foot forward and have your offer accepted.
‘You can almost plan on having several offers not go through before one is accepted,” explains Brian Chinn, leader of the Brian Chinn Team at Newberry Real Estate in Tyler, TX. “While that isn’t always the case, it happens more often than not in this market.”
If you are interested in purchasing a new home, contact a Realtor who can help you through the process. “It’s easy to get frustrated,” Chinn adds, “but having patience is key.”