In 2021, it was difficult to find a home. While prices rose across the country, shoppers hurried to find properties and engaged in bidding wars.
Economists predict that the market will be a little kinder in 2022. However, pursuing the American dream of homeownership will need planning and perseverance.
The home market in 2022 will continue to feel like training for an Olympic event.
Before you begin your home hunt, you should familiarize yourself with the basics of homeownership. This will enable you to make the best decisions for your family — and your bank account.
Is it a good time to buy a house right now?
It can be a yes or no. Mortgage rates hit new lows in early 2021, and they have remained low by historical standards throughout the year, despite fluctuating. Strong demand for properties, on the other hand, drove up prices, frustrating many potential purchasers. Property prices increased by 18 per cent between September 2020 and September 2021, according to the CoreLogic Case-Shiller Home Price Index.
Experts believe that interest rates will continue to rise this year, so now is the time to lock in an affordable mortgage. Last year, Realtors reported fierce competition for homes in many parts of the country, with some properties receiving dozens of offers and going under contract just days after being listed.
This reality has inevitably raised concerns about purchasing at the high. Home values rise throughout time, but there’s a chance that prices in some areas have reached a ceiling.
I’d be wary about purchasing near the top of the market, especially if I only plan to stay in the house for a few years. If you’re looking to buy, be willing to haggle hard and walk away. Real estate is unquestionably an excellent investment, but don’t buy it just because everyone else is doing it.
1. Help from other people around you
When you begin looking for a home, the first thing you will come across are people that have a lot of different perspectives. It’s critical to disregard everyone but those who offer sound counsel. Family and acquaintances who have only purchased one home in their lives are unlikely to be aware of all of the crucial aspects of today’s home-buying process.
People who have been in the real estate, home improvement, and title sectors for a long time are likely to know what they’re talking about, so pay attention to them. When choosing a Realtor, look for someone who has a long track record of successful representation of buyers in the area: it’s far too easy to find someone who is only looking to make a quick buck.
2. The home size you require
Never, no matter how tempting, acquire more space than you require right now (expected family growth included). A larger home just means more room to maintain, more utility bills to pay, and more things to go wrong. Consider where you’ve previously lived and how much space your goods actually require. Consider condos or townhomes if all of the homes you’re looking at are larger than you need.
3. Home inspections reveal real issues
Inspection information should always be included in home purchase advice. A home inspection is more than a formality; it can reveal serious issues with a house, such as foundation issues, rot, pest issues, roof damage, mould, improper insulation, out-of-date wiring, and more. Before you make a final decision, you must be aware of these issues. The good news is that a fault usually results in a new offer, with the seller paying to rectify the problem before you buy it.
4. The state of the community
Take a stroll! Take a few blocks in either way and see what you can find. What do you think of the houses? What is happening in the yards? Are neighbourhoods being developed and improved, or are they deteriorating? How old are the persons you observe on average? If what you see makes you uncomfortable, think twice about buying a home there. You should also check the neighbourhood’s crime statistics and typical home prices.
5. Check how old the appliances are
Appliances are among the most expensive parts of the house, thus they demand special attention. If an appliance is more than ten years old, it is probably time to replace it. This includes ovens, refrigerators, and other major appliances. Also, make certain that the appliances you see will remain in the house after you purchase them (some sellers can be very sneaky about this).
You should also discuss depreciation rates with your real estate agent. In relation to appliances and furniture, there could be hidden cash flow in your investment home.
6. Workplace and school proximity
Examine your commute and local schools if necessary. Take note of any public transportation stops. Don’t simply look at a map; go travel the routes to see what they’re like, how busy they are, and how long they’ll take.
7. The orientation of the windows
This is a minor but crucial detail that determines how much sun the house gets when it receives it (morning or afternoon), and how hot it will become if all the windows are open. It’s a fundamental but crucial aspect of good housekeeping, and it’ll also show you how to maintain siding and the yard.
8. Homeowners’ association information
Determine whether or not there is an HOA or other similar sort of association. If there is, read through their requirements (which any professional Realtor should be able to obtain quickly) and take note of any fees and what they might cover.
Check to determine if whatever you wish to change about a residence is permitted. Check to discover if parking a car or trailer at your house is permitted. In addition to monthly payments, HOAs might have a lot of rules.
9. The situation with house offers
Are there any other offers on the house right now, or will there be soon? A qualified Realtor will be able to tell you a lot about it. If at all possible, you should also know who is bidding on the home. For example, an investor will frequently give cash upfront and make counteroffers extremely tough. Keep in mind that there is always some rivalry for popular residences.
10. Make use of a real estate agent
By assisting you in finding your perfect property and negotiating on your behalf with the seller, a professional real estate agent can save you time and money.
To begin, contact multiple real estate agents and request a meeting to discuss your requirements before deciding on one. A local expert can also advise you whether your budget is reasonable or not, based on the characteristics you want in a home. They can also direct you to nearby places in your selected neighbourhood or other factors to consider when looking for a home.