If you’re shopping for a home, it can be hard to get a handle on the market – especially in these volatile economic times. Fortunately, some of the Coast’s most savvy experts are here to help with their predictions and best advice.
“Mortgage rates are rising; inventory remains low, and home prices are predicted to grow more slowly. Rising rates may have some holding off on either buying or selling. However, it’s important to remember that interest rates fluctuate over time, making refinancing an option when rates fall again. We still have a strong market on the Coast, and buyers always are looking to relocate here, as we have some of the most affordable beach towns in the country. Whatever your decision, do what is best for your family now.”
Realtor with Coldwell Banker Alfonso Realty
HER TOP TIPS:
• Know what you can afford. Create an affordability list with available funds for a down payment, household income and monthly payments.
• Get pre-approved for a mortgage before shopping. Give your lender your affordability list, as he or she will use your debt, income and credit score to determine what you can afford.
• List your “must haves” and “wants,” and know what tradeoffs you are willing to make.
• Rate and assess your skills, and be realistic to ensure you aren’t taking on a project beyond your abilities. You don’t want to have to hire contractors that aren’t in your budget.
• Be smart about moving prep. Take time to donate and purge to avoid moving expenses on items you don’t want or need.
“Over the past year, buyers for real estate have found themselves struggling to navigate this volatile market. In the coming months, we expect this current seller’s market to begin to shift slightly in the buyer’s favor. With that in mind, there are some things buyers can do to ensure they are ready to get their hands on the property of their dreams.”
Realtor, HL Raymond Properties
HER TOP TIPS:
• Work with an experienced Realtor. He or she not only can use a rolodex of contacts to find you a great property but also will know how to negotiate to get you the best deal possible. A great Realtor will have the experience and expertise to think outside the box and make your offer stand out.
• Be prepared to act quickly. Get your finances in order early, which includes applying for a pre-approval letter from your lender or requesting a proof of funds letter from your bank. Having these documents up front will help you understand what buying power you have and allow you to quickly make an offer if the opportunity arises. If you wait until it’s time to make an offer to get them, it will slow you down and could lead to losing a great opportunity.
• Keep track of interest rates. Buyers may benefit from rate-testing their budgets to ensure they are prepared for a possible rate increase heading into the fall and winter. Understanding your loan limitations as interest rates rise will be key in your negotiations and search.
• Make a strong offer you are comfortable with. Because this market is so competitive, now is not the time for underbidding. Give it all you’ve got! That does not always mean offering a higher purchase price, but it could mean offering more earnest money, setting a quick closing date or adding some carefully considered contingencies. Sellers who aren’t worried about the buyer backing out are more likely to accept an offer.
• Work on saving and building credit. Throughout this entire buying process, make sure you are taking steps to continue building your credit score, lowering your current debt and putting extra money aside to go toward your down payment. In this competitive market, buying power will increase your odds on landing the property of your dreams.
“As a broker’s associate and certified residential appraiser on the Mississippi Gulf Coast, I can say we are still seeing growth. If you drive around any of the coastal towns, you will see new construction, utility vehicles and an increase in traffic — all signs of continued growth. I am seeing a change in the market as far as home buying goes. Sellers that were getting multiple offers for over list price as soon as soon as their property hit the market are starting to see changes in the home-buying process. Sellers are having to negotiate sales prices and home inspection repairs again. Most likely this is due to an increase in mortgage rates and a new post-pandemic normal.”
Broker’s Associate, Certified Residential Appraiser, Owen & Co. LLC
HER TOP TIPS:
• For buyers it’s more important than ever to consult a reputable lender before beginning the home-buying process.
• Local experienced Realtors also are an important part of the buying process. Locate a Realtor in the area who has the experience and knowledge to assist you in making a sound investment.
• It’s also important for buyers and sellers to remain knowledgeable about the local market. The local market is not always on the same track as the national market. The coast is growing and will continue to grow, as it has so many things to offer its residents.
BUYING OR SELLING? HERE’S EMILY’S BEST ADVICE
“Since the COVID-19 pandemic, I have seen more buyers coming to the coastal counties from larger cities and moving to smaller communities and country settings. As a result, the Coast real estate market has seen an increase in demand, resulting in increased value.”
Emily McDougall, Broker/owner of Mississippi South Realty, LLC
Given the present market conditions, my five most important tips to a buyer or seller would be:
1. Find the right Realtor.
2. Be patient.
3. Do not settle.
4. Make sure there are solid comparable properties to justify the desired listing price or purchase offer.
5. Be sure you have a suitable lender. In today’s real estate market, given your needs, this could be an excellent time to list your home for sale or to buy your dream home.