Today is the first day of Spring for 2021.
Traditionally in the real estate world, Spring was the time to place your home on the market or look for a new one. In 2021 that is still true, but with a caveat … this year there is strong demand and short supply. According to this article in Barron’s the historic low mortgage rates drove the record-setting sales in 2020 and through the winter. And now that Spring has sprung, when new construction normally would fill the gap, there are lumber shortages which may raise the price of new homes nationwide.
But in West Virginia, the outlook is for a steady trend upward. Compared to most areas, Morgantown and surrounding areas have more inventory, so finding your gem may be easier than in other areas with very slim markets.
Finding your gem in 2021
According to Dave Ramsey, there are five things you need to know about buying this spring.
Recognize the inventory is low.
Even though we have more available homes than in many areas, the likelihood of your perfect gem staying on the market while you get your ducks in a row is slim. The best thing to do is get prequalified and preapproved—immediately! That way, when you see the home you want, you can make an offer right away. You also might need to expand your search to neighborhoods you haven’t considered before. As Dave says “You might be surprised at the gem you can find in a less popular neighborhood. Working with a real estate agent who really knows the area is the best way to find a home that fits your budget and lifestyle.”
Prices are still trending up.
Although homes in West Virginia aren’t jumping in price as quickly as places like Austin, Texas for example (where the average but is 15% over the listing price), they are steadily moving upwards. So when you get preapproved, make sure you plan for that contingency. Share your budget with your real estate agent. When shopping, focus on the most important items on your wish list.
Mortgage rates are still low.
Even though the Federal Reserve is hinting at pushing rates up, they still are historically low. That means a home loan is still affordable. Work with a reputable lender to get the best rate. If you don’t know a great lender, we have recommendations.
You can buy or sell a home through an online service. But we contend that an agent working for you is a better option. Our agents know the market. They know Morgantown and the surrounding Monongalia Counties cities. They even know the surrounding counties. We have your best interest at heart and work for you to locate and obtain the best home for the best price in the best neighborhood for you. But if you’re concerned about in-person meetings, we can help with virtual open houses and virtual paperwork.
Because the market is tighter than normal, you’ll find some riskier options out there. One is the rent-to-own option. The upside is that you can move into the home you want. But the downside is that your “rent” will be more expensive because some of the monthly payment goes toward your future down-payment. And, if you change your mind, you typically lose all of that extra. On top of that, you are often stuck with the maintenance and upkeep of a house that you don’t actually own. Another trend to beware of is taking out a loan for your downpayment. In fact, doing so can rob you of the opportunity to take advantage of lower interest loans, FHA loans, and USDA loans. If you need help saving up for a downpayment, check out the tips in this post.
We at White Diamond Realty would like to celebrate the first day of Spring by helping you find your gem of a home. If your gem is out there, we’ll help you find it.