Summary: As economies begin to relax COVID-19 restrictions, the real estate business is also enjoying greater freedom to conduct transactions. With housing supplies low and buyer demand high, home seekers must be diligent and patient to find the right property.
In spite of resurgences of the novel coronavirus in several states of the U.S., re-openings continue unabated in many others. This means a revival of commercial activity, a renewal of economies and a return to work for millions of Americans. Of course, instant prosperity is unlikely. The trajectory of progress in many regions, however, is an encouraging sign that the worst may be behind us. This opens the doors of opportunity to those delaying on major investments, such as the purchase of a new house. Research and persistence might just reveal how you can buy the home of your dreams.
On The Ground In WA, ID And OR
Real estate transactions, dubbed an essential business by state authorities, continued throughout the most restrictive stages of the COVID-19 response. They were nevertheless curtailed in terms of open houses and in-person showings without an appointment. New listings were mandated to be expedited remotely. Residential construction, too, was put on hold. Yet the slowdown did not affect prices, which remained healthy and hardy throughout the winter and spring. Homebuilding has since resumed under conditions consistent with social distancing. In metro areas like Seattle, new listings are significantly lower than in 2019. The pandemic has caused densely-populated areas to lose some of their appeal.
Still a target for inter-state migration, Idaho has watched the market value of its houses rise by nearly 10 percent over the past year. The cessation of open houses and strict regulations regarding showings (shoe removal, hand washing, etc.) did not appear to put a dent in this trend. Still, inventories are minimal in Idaho compared to demand. At any rate, the incoming president of the Boise Regional Realtors remains optimistic, telling the Idaho Business Review, “If you’re hoping to buy, keep in mind that low inventory isn’t the same as no inventory. There are options available, and rates are making mortgage payments more manageable. On the other hand, if you’re considering selling, keep in mind sellers are getting a great value for their properties with today’s home prices.”
The general public health order, “Safer at Home,” was recently amended to allow in-person showings under what are now standard requirements for distancing and numbers limitation. According to May 2020 statistics compiled by the Colorado Association of Realtors (CAR), both new listings and real estate closings are down in most counties, with a few exceptions, from a year ago. Localities where they have climbed tend to be rural in nature. Yet home prices have risen substantially in many places. The overall mood among realtors going into the summer is said to reflect cautious optimism.
Oregon realtors are still bullish on the residential market, but that enthusiasm is informed by events. Some home sales professionals believe that mortgage credit criteria will become stricter, particularly in view of the fact that so many current borrowers have applied for forbearance. So, even with rates at their lowest in memory, some potential buyers might be left out in the cold. Yet, since the availability of houses for sale is proportionately smaller, a shrinking of the buyer pool may not be a terrible thing. Meanwhile, online real estate services like Redfin and Zillow are cutting back on their transactional activity, leaving more customers for the traditional local agents.
Is There Hope For Home Buyers?
With a modest supply of houses for sale, eager buyers may lose heart over slim pickings and high prices. However, they need not give up just yet. There are answers to how you can buy the home of your dreams.
For some, this is a pleasant pipe dream that will never happen. Still, there are shoppers who do have the cash to pay and the confidence to negotiate. This assertiveness comes from the value of the cash purchase. For one thing, it promises the seller a closing without delay. Many settlements are postponed for unmet conditions on the lender’s loan commitment. A buyer-financed transaction avoids such unpleasant surprises. Moreover, neither seller nor buyer have to wait for an appraiser’s valuation, one which may undermine the agreed-upon offer/acceptance price. In general, all-cash deals are streamlined compared to those dependent on third-party financing.
Most people, though, need help with financing their residential purchases, hence the presence of mortgage lenders. One way to show a seller that your offer is a serious one, and one to be taken seriously, is to obtain a pre-approval from a lender before approaching the seller. No, this is not an official commitment to extend credit; rather, it is a statement from the bank or finance company that it likes what it sees so far. This can convey a shot of confidence for the seller and relieve the buyer of (at least some) stress. This step also helps purchasers to know what they can afford to offer.
Offers on homes are often accompanied by conditions, or contingencies, that the seller is expected to address. These can include minor repairs or major ones, a new roof, for example, or the removal of an old oil tank. Of course, no buyer wants to pay a hefty price and then pay more for home repair. In seeking a new property, nobody should settle for a broken down structure at a premium dollar figure. There should be a balance between the upfront cost and the value of subsequent restoration. That said, keeping contingencies to a minimum is more attractive to a seller receiving multiple offers. The “cleaner” the proposal, the better.
Advance A Competitive Bid
Purchasers do not help themselves, especially in such tight markets, by low-balling their offers. Remember the dearth of inventory and the abundance of buyers like you. It may very well be that sellers are receiving bids in excess of the appraised value. With this in mind, a buyer should look at the asking price and determine if a little more would be a worthwhile investment to sweeten the pot.
- The median single-family residence value in Washington is about $429,000
- The median single-family residence value in Oregon is $372,868
- The median single-family residence value in Idaho is $298,257
- The median single-family residence value in Colorado is $408,794
While medians are not reflective of every region and locality, they can serve as starting points for calculations.
The Personal Touch and a Touch Of Patience
Not all sellers are coldhearted misers thinking only of dollars. Many have a large emotional investment in their properties and want to pass them off to new owners who appreciate them. A buyer who can tap into the sentimental side of the equation gains an edge over competitors who do not. Thus, a personal written appeal to the seller is very much in order. Furthermore, those who have the time and inclination to wait out their rivals are also more likely to be successful with optimal properties.
Sammamish Mortgage has been around since 1992 and has been assisting people in the Pacific Northwest realize their dreams of buying a home. If you are looking for a mortgage, we can help. Sammamish Mortgage offers mortgage programs in Colorado, Idaho, Oregon, and Washington. Feel free to Contact Us if you have any questions. If you’d like, you can also View Rates on our site. Or, you can Apply Instantly, or even get a Rate Quote.
A Mortgage Professional Can Assist You With Getting Your Dream Home
Mortgage loan officers keep close track of markets, interest rates and property values. Beginning your search with a conversation with one of these experienced professionals is a positive first step.