Spending a lot more time at home last year led many Americans to decide it’s time to move. You might be seeking more space, relocating to a new area, or simply want to take advantage of a great opportunity (and even greater mortgage rates). If you’re one of the millions looking to move to a new home this year, it’s important to understand the current market. Here, I’ll share three tips that will help you find your dream home, get your offer approved, and end up with the absolute most for your money.
1. Get Your Ducks In a Row Before Looking.
Upgrading to a bigger home is now top of everyone’s list. It’s a competitive market, and you will encounter many other buyers if and when you decide to put in an offer. The moment you finally find the “right” house is not the time to scramble to get your bank accounts, mortgage broker, and other financial elements sorted. In this market, you need to do the prep work and have ALL of your ducks in a row before you even begin looking. Get pre-approved for a mortgage now, do the math with your financial advisor, and find the right agent who’s skilled in and has relationships in your area of interest. After all, it’s your agent’s connections that will get you in the door of an off-market listing before it’s shown to anyone else or negotiate the best possible price with the seller. Their relationships are invaluable, so choose someone who will really earn that commission and go to bat for you.
2. Embrace Virtual Tours.
One silver lining to come from the pandemic? Virtual tours are better than ever. If you’ve never seen one, virtual tours are in-depth, give a great impression of the home, and work for any property. Seeing homes in person is always ideal, but if you can see 30 houses in one morning instead of spending a week driving from one listing appointment to another, take the first option. The market is more competitive in many areas right now, but you also have the ability to see more choices and make decisions faster. Lean into technology and use virtual tours to your advantage.
3. Be Open to New Locations.
Our work-from-home and virtual school culture has allowed people to pay less attention to a home’s location than ever before. You likely have a specific area you’re most interested in, but be open to other areas where you could find a way better deal for much less money. If you’re not already doing a virtual commute, I recommend negotiating a partial work-from-home setup with your employer. If you can save 3 days a week of commuting costs and apply that money toward your monthly payment instead, that translates into a bigger house for you. So do the math and consider whether living near the office or school is worth it right now.