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Opinion: Creative strategies to homebuying in 2022

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Want to become a homeowner in 2022? Unfortunately, the housing market looks a lot like 2021. Bidding wars abound, houses are getting snatched up in record time and demand still outstrips supply. How can homebuyers succeed despite the obstacles? Experts at TheMortgageReports.com say to get creative so you can outmaneuver the buying competition and achieve your homeownership dreams.

The market is tough, but homes sold at a record pace in 2021, which means millions of buyers were successful in their quests. Being creative, inventive and resourceful does not mean you have to go it alone. Work with a trusted real estate agent, who can help you devise the right approaches that can help you find and claim the right home.

Get strategic
Once you have a strong representation lined up, explore each of these financial strategies.

  1. Tighten your financial belt. Where possible, experts recommend that you stop eating out, cancel unnecessary subscriptions, shop around for cheaper insurance, choose a less expensive grocery store and cut out unnecessary spending as much as you can. These might feel like sacrifices in the short term, but even minor changes can make a significant difference in your long-term homeownership goals.
  2. Seek help from loved ones. Most mortgage loan programs allow you to cover part or all of your down payment using gifted money from a loved one. Take note that the donor will need to write a gift letter to the lender verifying that the funds are a gift and not a loan that needs to be repaid.
  3. Use a low- or no-money-down payment loan. If your primary goal is to buy a home sooner rather than later, your best bet might be a low-down-payment mortgage. By lowering the down payment, you can often buy much earlier than if you waited to save the 20% down. Federal Housing Administration and conventional loans are also great options, with down payments in the 3%-3.5% range. Qualified buyers should look into the government-backed loan programs through the U.S. departments of Veterans Affairs and Agriculture, which allow 0% down.
  4. Look into down payment assistance programs. The city of Springfield offers a down payment assistance program. Program information including eligibility, loan requirements, lender information, home pricing and location requirements can be found on the city website. There are many other programs that also can be researched online. Check with your Realtor and mortgage lender to find out which program may best fit your homebuying goals.

More options
There is more you can do. For the best results, consider these additional suggestions:

  • Focus only on the homes you truly want to purchase. Do not put offers on every home. Tighten up your criteria and be hyperfocused on your search.
  • Use an escalation clause. Work with your Realtor to establish the escalation offer, but be sure to put a cap on it to the maximum price you are willing to pay for the property.
  • Consider waiving contingencies in your offer. Removing some contingencies could give you a better shot at winning the offer game.
  • Ask your agent to reach out to the listing agent and establish rapport. By developing a relationship, your agent can help put a face to the name on the offer.

If you are serious about buying a home in 2022, it is time to connect with a mortgage lender and get preapproved. Every prospective homebuyer needs to be preapproved to learn how much they can afford, the types of mortgages they qualify for and their monthly payment amounts. A preapproval letter also gives you the clout to make a serious offer on the home of your dreams.

Ready to get started?
Using local, experienced real estate and financial advisers can also help you navigate potential rate fluctuations, price increases, valuations and evolving mortgage rules and regulations. Do your research, make a plan and recruit the appropriate experts to start your homebuying journey.

Tyler Stalker is a residential lending manager for Guaranty Bank. He can be reached at tstalker@gbankmo.com.

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