Even at the best of times, the decision to buy a house can be stressful. After all, it’s a large commitment to make, and a lot of money is involved. Add in the complexities of an uneasy market, and you may feel even more inclined to hold off. But is that a mistake?
Yes, COVID-19, racial tensions, and a contentious political climate make things feel dangerous right now. But apart from these larger issues, ultimately it’s your own personal situation and the local housing market that you should really consider if you’re interested in buying a home or making some other kind of investment in real estate.
So, before you say yes or no, be sure to think about:
-Your own financial stability
-Current interest rates
-If you meet loan pre-approval requirements
-The availability of homes to buy
Personal Financial Stability
The first thing you need to ask yourself is if you feel confident in your ability to keep up with a mortgage payment every month for the next 15 or 30 years. If you and/or your partner are in stable, relatively well-paying jobs that you like, then the answer to this is probably yes.
However, anything can happen. So, perhaps you are concerned that your seemingly stable job won’t turn out to be. As long as you have an emergency fund saved up to sustain you for a few months, then you can feel more confident moving forward with a home purchase.
Low Interest Rates
Right now, interest rates for a mortgage are hovering around 3%, which is about as low as they’re expected to get this year. (Of course, that could change. Who really knows?)
So, if you are otherwise financially stable and willing to move forward, it would seem that now is a pretty good time to lock in those low rates.
Loan Pre-Approval Requirements
Sellers want buyers that are confident and clearly ready to buy. The best way to show that you are ready to buy a house is to get pre-approved for a home loan before you start house hunting. To do so, there are certain requirements you will need to meet in regards to total monthly income, credit score, and the amount you have saved for a down payment.
Different lenders have different minimums. However, some general rules of thumb these days are:
- A monthly income three times that of an anticipated mortgage payment
- A relatively high credit score (680+)
- A 20% down payment
If you can meet such requirements, then you are way ahead of the game. Being armed with a pre-approval letter tends to set you apart–and ahead–of house hunters who don’t have one.
Local Housing Inventory
In anticipation of not getting the price they want, some home sellers may just wait to put their homes on the market. But not always. Other sellers may not have the luxury of being able to wait to sell when they want.
Keep an eye on the housing market in the area in which you are interested. If you see a number of homes that appeal to you and suit your budget, find a good real estate agent and move forward with your search. If not, you may decide to look in other areas or wait until the right house comes along.
In the meantime, you can also check on the background of the homes in which you’re interested by conducting an address search and looking over the available property records. This can help you to be more informed about property taxes and sales history.
Yes, these are troubling, uncertain times in which we live. But don’t let that be a reason why you can’t try to live the life you want. Just keep in mind that, really, there is no “perfect” time to buy a house. You just have to be in a good financial situation and excited about the home you’re buying to have it be the perfect time for you.
For more information on current events, safety tips and other matters important to your everyday life, be sure to read the PeopleFinders blog.
Image attribution: Photo by Andy Dean Photography – www.shutterstock.com