By KIMBERLEY HAAS
This Valentine’s Day, if you are ready to get off the sidelines and into the housing market, you are likely not alone in your quest to find a place you love.
Potential buyers are coming out of the woodwork and touring homes, according to Redfin’s Homebuyer Demand Index, which measures requests for tours and other buying services from Redfin agents. And although that hasn’t translated into home sales yet, they expect this increase in tours to convert into an improvement in pending sales over the next few months.
Dana Anderson, a data journalist at Redfin, explained that more buyers are touring homes now because mortgage rates are holding steady at below 7% and some of these people are worried prices will increase if they wait longer. She said sale prices rose 5.5% year-over-year during the four weeks ending January 28.
There is likely something to that. Gabriella Lisi, a realtor associate at RE/MAX Revolution in Lavallette, New Jersey, recently told The Mortgage Note that she warns her clients that if they wait until interest rates drop like many potential buyers are, they will be facing a much more competitive landscape when they enter the market.
“If interest rates go down, home values go up and buyers end up paying over asking because of the influx in the market,” Lisi said. “It’s a double-edged sword no matter what interest rates are doing. Take your pick.”
And who wants to go through the emotional roller coaster buyers were on just two years ago at this time, when Cindy Flynn, vice president of relocation and corporate services at Comey & Shepherd Realtors in Cincinnati, Ohio, said buyers in her area were submitting an average of eight offers before landing a home?
Technology can help buyers find a home they love.
In December, leaders at Rocket Homes, the real estate service arm of Rocket Companies, announced that their app is now available to potential buyers while they are driving through Apple CarPlay.
Homes listed for sale can be seen in the “Nearby” tab. By tapping the vehicle’s screen, drivers can get directions to a home, call an agent, or save listings to their “Favorites.”
On Feb. 5, the company announced their app is also available on Apple Vision Pro so buyers can use virtual reality to immerse themselves in the homes they are considering.
Sam Vida, president and chief product officer of Rocket Homes, said in a statement that they are constantly developing new ways to make the home search more convenient and effective.
“At Rocket Homes, we know there are millions of people who are waiting for the right moment to buy a home. We also know that there are many ways to find and fall in love with your next house during the homebuying journey,” Vida said.
In the video, Krishna tested out the product and said, “I can just imagine people falling in love with this. It’s such a cool way to tour a property virtually. It just feels like you’re actually there in real time. Incredible.”
Recent buyers who spoke with The Mortgage Note offer people who are ready to jump into the housing market some advice.
Tyler Malinowski told writer Nicole Murray that knowing and sticking to a budget is important.
“I’ve had friends who go above their budget and then instantly regret it,” Malinowski said. “You don’t want the house to own your lifestyle.”
Malinowski added that buyers should demand a home inspection because waiving one could have resulted in his life savings being invested in a dead-end home.
“We almost bought a few homes that we backed out of because of major issues discovered during the inspection process,” Malinowski said. “One house’s garage was sinking, and another had issues with the structural foundation. Try to buy now while inspections are tolerated on the market because otherwise, you could end up in a disastrous situation.”
Kevin Wu advises people to make sure they have an emergency fund for unexpected costs after closing.
“Have extra money that you won’t dip into with the purchase of the house,” Wu said. “There are a lot of unpredictable costs during the first year of homeownership that we did not calculate when buying. The well water system had to be replaced for $4,500. The septic had to be drained. If you don’t have money to fall back on, hold off and keep saving.”
Analysts at the National Association of Realtors predict there will be 4.71 million existing-home sales in 2024, up 13.5% from 2023.
Read More Articles:
Listen To Our Podcast:
Sign up for our free newsletter.