Donna Greene
Donna Greene

This year’s homebuying season has been like no other.

It got off to an early start followed quickly by an abrupt stop as states locked down during the early days of the pandemic. Then, it roared back with historically low interest rates and many lockdown-weary buyers looking for space to better fit their needs to work and entertain at home.

As we settle into the fall and a time of year when some buyers usually retreat, you may be wondering what’s happening in the marketplace now. Is it still a good time to buy?

True to what we’ve been seeing all year, buyers have been bucking the usual trends and continue to actively buy as summer winds down and we head into cooler weather months. Across the industry, demand for mortgages to buy a home has been running higher than a year ago, according to mortgage application data from the Mortgage Bankers Association for the first part of September.

In addition, preliminary data shows contract signings for the four weeks ending Sept. 20 were up 23 percent compared to a year ago1, according to the National Association of REALTORS.

Buyers are still in the market, though the number of properties for sale has been low. Even so, fall and winter months may provide a good time to look and traditionally provide buyers a chance to shop in an environment that may offer a little less intense competition.

If you are ready to buy and want to begin house hunting, here are a few important considerations to keep in mind.

Don’t get carried away when bidding on a house in this competitive environment. You need to know your buying budget and stick to it. It’s really easy to get emotional about a home and want to buy at all cost, but keep the focus on the smart financial decisions you’ve made about budget and manageable payments.

Remember that there are more ways than one to take advantage of the current rate environment. Talk with your home mortgage consultant about your goals and what financial options work best for you. For example, are you looking for the lowest possible payment or is your biggest concern the lowest possible closing cost? These are all part of a good discussion as you set out to buy.

Finally, think about buying a home as a series of financial trade-offs you will need to make. Most people don’t get their dream home right out of the gate. It’s usually a discussion of what’s the best possible home I can buy based on the budget I have. As you get close to finding that home, you’ll find yourself trading your dream kitchen for a bigger garage or discover you’re OK with just a one-car garage because the house comes with a swimming pool. It’s all part of the process.

The fall and winter months really can be a great time to buy a home, if you’re ready. As a buyer, take your time, do your financial homework and dive into the opportunity.

1Copyright ©2020 “Weekly Housing Market Monitor.” NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS®. All rights reserved. Reprinted with permission.

WI Guest Author

This correspondent is a guest contributor to The Washington Informer.

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