Navigating the Housing Market: What Buyers Can Control

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The housing market has been challenging for many homebuyers. During the COVID-19 pandemic, buyers faced low mortgage rates but massive competition, driving home prices to all-time highs. As the pandemic receded, mortgage rates increased to 6-7%, and inventory shortages persisted, with active listings down 35.9% this April compared to typical 2017-2019 levels.

This market turbulence might make the average buyer feel like they're just along for the ride. However, there are many aspects of the buying process that buyers can control.

1. Control Your Price Range

While the average home cost $430,000 in April 2024, you don’t need to spend that much. Adjusting your price range and criteria to account for interest rate fluctuations can help you find a home where you’re comfortable with the payment, allowing you to build equity.

2. Control How Much You Pay

Home price reductions were up 15.5% this April compared to last year. Look for price-reduced homes, offer less than the list price, or ask for financial breaks. In many areas, the shift towards a buyer’s market means you can negotiate for concessions like an interest rate buydown or seller-paid closing costs.

3. Control What Kind of Home You Buy

New homes coming to market can help alleviate housing shortages. Builders often offer incentives to attract buyers, making new construction a potentially better deal than resales. Plus, new homes typically don't require immediate replacements of major systems like AC or roofing, and you might find it easier to negotiate with builders.

4. Control Whether to Buy at All

Deciding to buy or wait is one of the most significant factors under your control. While some buyers might prefer to wait, others might benefit from buying now and refinancing later when interest rates drop, reducing their payments.

5. Control Which Real Estate Agent You Work With

Being an active partner with your real estate agent is crucial. Communicate your preferences clearly and don't hesitate to walk away if the partnership isn’t working out. Choosing the right agent can make a significant difference in your homebuying experience.

Conclusion

Despite the challenges in today’s housing market, buyers have more control than they might think. By focusing on what you can control—like your budget, negotiation strategies, and real estate partnerships—you can navigate the market more effectively and find a home that meets your needs. Stay flexible, adaptable, and creative to move through this challenging market successfully.

 

Source: Realtor.com

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