How to Successfully Buy Your First Home During a Pandemic

Buying a home is more challenging than ever in today’s Pandemic-driven housing market.  While mortgage rates are historically low, so is inventory.  Housing prices in the U.S. are up an average of 4% vs. last year at this time, and many markets are consistently experiencing overbids and multiple offers.  

This doesn’t mean that first-time buyers should give up on buying a home, but it does take more planning, time, and effort.  Given below are some tips to help you more easily navigate the process.

Start with a housing counselor or lender and check out different down payment options.

As much as we love to look at houses online, you need to first make sure your finances are in order and determine what you can afford before you shop.  Many real estate agents won’t even show prospective clients properties without a pre-approval – and you’ll definitely need one prior to submitting an offer.  

Further, contrary to popular belief, you don’t need 20% down.  In fact, it’s more important to retain some savings to protect yourself from unplanned expenses. While many lenders are tightening up qualification requirements due to the pandemic, there are still many down payment assistance programs available that can help cover closing costs that will help give you an advantage over other buyers.   keep reading

The Importance of Down Payment Assistance Programs in a Pandemic

Economists agree that the real estate business has recovered faster than expected during the pandemic. A continued lack of inventory, low mortgage rates, and pent-up demand are all contributing factors to a robust market.

The good news for homebuyers is that down payment assistance is still available, with many program providers offering online and virtual support/education. With an average benefit of $13,000, these programs can help make the difference in achieving homeownership when competition is fierce.

In a recent appearance on the “Real Estate Coach Uncensored” show with Bernice Ross and Greg McDaniel, our very own Rob Chrane, CEO of Down Payment Resource, discussed the different types of down payment programs available and how they represent an opportunity for real estate agents and loan officers to expand their client portfolio.

Many prospective buyers are unaware of the scope of these resources or don’t think they’ll qualify. Our goal is to dispel several of the most common myths surrounding these programs:

  • Myth #1 – They’re only for first time buyers: Over a third of the programs don’t have a first-time homebuyer requirement. Further, previous homeowners who haven’t owned a home for at least 3 years can qualify as first-time buyers.
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Don’t Make This $9,000 Home Buying Mistake

Among life goals, homeownership is second only to retirement – ranking higher than getting married, having children and traveling the world, according to Bank of America’s Homebuyer Insights report. Where do you rank homeownership? If you’re here, you might agree that owning a home is a top priority.  

Yet, you may be overlooking the wide range of resources available to help you achieve your homeownership dream — from homebuyer education to down payment help. Recent data shows just how many buyers may be leaving money on the table. keep reading