Current property market conditions mean there's rarely been a more challenging time to buy a home.
The situation isn't impossible, but it's not helped by recent hikes in mortgage costs and, more significantly, the fact that owners are staying out of the market.
The number of homes for sale is at a 20-year low. Why? Because owners think they can get more money if they hold on a little longer, and upgraders don't want to renegotiate their low-interest mortgage to a more expensive one when they buy.
As a buyer, this presents a challenge. However, intelligent and strategic thinking will make all the difference in how you approach the market.
These house-hunting tips may be helpful.
Work with an agent who has succeeded in various market conditions. When you find one you trust, they'll be able to explain why the market behaves the way it does, what it means for you and what you can do about it.
The pseudo-experts will tell you to time the market to pick a moment when prices are at their lowest. Regrettably, that moment has usually passed by the time you decide the market is at the bottom of the cycle. Today, the scarcity of homes for sale is keeping values strong. Timing the market is not a strategy.
Rather than obsess over the affordability of mortgage payments, if a first or new home is essential to you, then look at where you can save money in your daily expenses.
Falling in love with a home is a notion for romantics. Buying a house can be competitive, and you may get outbid for one or more properties. While that's disappointing, it's not the end of the world. There's always another house out there for you. So, try to avoid the love trap.
The fear of missing out is increasing in many local markets as buyers struggle with the lack of properties available. However, avoid making a decision too quickly for your own comfort. Purchasing a house is a high-stakes deal. Be sure you're making the right decision.
Many buyers focus on the asking prices of a desired property. But you must also consider additional costs, such as insurance, taxes and mortgage insurance. These bills add up, so the cost of a home is more than the asking price.
Always start a serious property search with a lender's pre-approved mortgage in your back pocket. You'll know exactly how much you can spend. If you find a home that needs a little TLC, leave some funds in the bank for the remodeling.