You thought you were buying a house. But then you weren’t. Instead you’ve been…waiting. And waiting.
Mortgage interest rates jumped up in the 2nd half of last year. Exhausted by a market that was super-competitive, home prices that had vaulted upwards and interest rates that were shrinking your buying power, you were among a chunk of buyers who decided to step out of the market.
I get it. It was no fun to compete against 21 other offers on the homes you wanted. It was no fun to see the interest rate hikes increase your expected monthly payment. It was no fun to have those things happening while prices on the homes you liked were getting higher, too.
You were tired. You were stressed. Every next headline mangled some statistics to make you think the real estate sky was falling. You didn’t want to be “house poor.” You didn’t want to overpay, and you didn’t want to settle.
It’s not surprising you hit a bit of a wall, and decided to go home and take a little nap in the land of Not Buying a House Now.
But the winter of your discontent might be ending.
Here’s a thing to consider…I think you might be missing a moment RIGHT NOW.
- Interest rates are down a bit from the highs a few months back. (They’re NOT 3% again, but it’s time to stop hoping for that. That ship really did sail.) A few months ago some were worried that rates would be 8% or 10% by now! But they’re not. They are in the 6’s. So with rates down a bit, it’s a bit more affordable than when you stepped out. Yay! And a lender I work with just told us about a fab program they have available: if you buy now and rates drop later this year, you can refinance without paying any lender fees! That is a HUGE YAY! Such a huge, huge yay!! As some have said, “marry the house, date the rate.”
- There is less competition right now. Right now you’re probably NOT going to be one of 24 offers on house. If it is a fab home that’s appropriately priced, you may certainly still find yourself among multiple offers…but that may be 3 or 5 other offers. You still need to play to win, but unlike last summer your offer does NOT currently need to include your right arm, your firstborn child, and a promise to carry the sellers to their new home on your shoulders. You can make a nice, normal strong offer and have decent odds of getting a yes. (Homesellers are still doing VERY well on their on their sales; a “yes” to you is still an excellent, very profitable outcome for them!)
- I don’t think the combo of 1 and 2 above is going to last. That’s why I think this is A MOMENT. My sense is that this is going to be a VERY busy spring market. I think more and more buyers will roll back into the market, especially with each mini-drop in interest rates. Those Other Buyers still need out of their too-small, too-pricey rentals. Their current house still doesn’t have a place for those newborn twins to sleep. They still want to register their soon-to-be-kindergarteners in their chosen school districts. And some are very, very tired of camping out in their parents’ basements. My texts are blowing up, my email is full, and my phone is ringing. It’s Those Other Buyers; they are starting to think houses again. They’re firming up their pre-approval letters as we speak.
- YOU DIDN’T LIKE COMPETING AGAINST ALLLLL OF THEM LAST YEAR, SO DON’T SET YOURSELF UP FOR A REMATCH IN 2023!
If you can find the house you want now, get ahead of the curve! Go get that house! Go get that house before absolutely everyone else is trying to get it, too!
Particularly with the option to refinance with no lender fees if rates drop, you have the BEST of both worlds: less competition and the ability to get a lower rate if it materializes. The appeal of this moment doesn’t mean you should buy a house you don’t like, or you should spend an amount that tangles your intestines.
But if you find the house that fits?? OMG, put it on, zip it up and make it yours! Now! I think January and February are your gorgeous moment.
On Facebook: Laurie Simon Goldman, Sibcy Cline Realtors