By Tracy Scott
The housing market has changed in recent years. Low inventories and rising property values make for a fast-paced environment requiring first-time and repeat homebuyers to act quickly to secure the home of their dreams. According to Realtor.com® Market Trends Explorer – By Metro data, San Antonio area homes are disappearing after only 68 days on the market. This can be especially unnerving for repeat homebuyers who may be expecting a buyer’s market characterized by ample inventory and low prices.
Despite current market conditions, repeat homebuyers may be in for a few pleasant surprises. Read on to learn more about how your next home purchase might differ from your last.
Your Local Housing Market Has Likely Changed
Whether you’re searching for a home in the same city or moving across the country, read up on local housing trends. Uncover details about homes that meet your requirements. For example, if you’re eying a four-bedroom, three-bath ranch style home, research prices for those homes instead of average home prices for the area. Also, note how quickly those homes are selling.
Traditionally, home searches began with a knowledgeable real estate agent. National Association of Realtors® Research Group found that while agents are still part of the process, online websites are the primary information source used in a home search. Looking online for properties was also preferred to visiting open houses, at least in the initial stages of the process. These online resources might allow you to find your new home quicker than driving neighborhoods or waiting to visit homes on your agent’s schedule.
A Seller’s Market Can Be Beneficial
If you need to sell your current home to purchase a new one, recognize that you might have an advantage over first-time homebuyers. Equity in your existing home could mean you’ll need to apply less of your savings toward a down payment and closing costs. Figuring the logistics and financial impact of the transaction in advance is necessary to ensure you don’t lose money by making a move. A knowledgeable real estate agent can assist with including a home sale contingency in your offer letter. This protects you in case you’re unable to sell your home in the time allotted in the contract.
Your Credit History, Debt, and Income Changes
Improvements to your credit health, employment stability, and income can open the doors to low down payment loan programs. You don’t have to be a first-time homebuyer to take advantage of less than 20% down programs with low-interest mortgage rates and favorable repayment terms. Unless you’re paying 100% cash for your next home, you’ll want to perform a financial checkup, starting with your credit history reports.
Visit AnnualCreditReport.com to order free copies of your reports from the major credit reporting bureaus. Review them for accuracy and follow the dispute policies to challenge any errors. The better your credit, the less risky you’ll appear to a would-be mortgage lender.
If your debt has steadily increased over the years, do what you can to reduce its effect on qualifying for favorable mortgage financing. The more debt you carry in relation to your income (debt-to-income ratio “DTI”) can reduce the amount you’re able to borrow. Put together a debt reduction plan that includes paying more than the minimum required payment each month, consider working additional hours, getting a side job, or reducing expenses to achieve this goal.
Remember that certain income, such as investment interest and dividends, may not be used to calculate your income when applying for a home loan. Speak with a Generations Federal Credit Union Home Loan Specialist about your specific situation.
Whether you sat at the closing table two years ago or twenty, understanding today’s home buying landscape and your current financial standing can help you secure the keys to your new home on your timeline. Generations Federal Credit Union’s easy mortgage application and quick closing process can help. We offer a variety of mortgage loan options to fit your specific situation. Speak with a Home Loan Specialist today by dialing 210-230-9380 or Apply Now!