Buying a house—in any market—is a highly personal decision. Because homes represent the largest single purchase most people will make in their lifetime, it’s crucial to be in a solid financial position before diving in.
Use a mortgage calculator to estimate your monthly housing costs based on your down payment and interest rate.
Trying to predict what might happen this year is not the best homebuying strategy. “Buyers sitting on the sidelines today in anticipation of lower prices tomorrow may end up disappointed,” says Neda Navab, president of the U.S. region at Compass, a real estate tech company.
“The housing market—like so many other markets—is almost impossible to time,“ says Divounguy. “The best time for prospective buyers is when they find a home that they like, that meets their family’s current and foreseeable needs and that they can afford.”
Divounguy says “getting on the housing ladder” is worthwhile to begin building equity and net worth.
Instead of waiting for much lower prices, experts suggest buying a home based on your budget and needs. If you find a home you love in an area you love, and it also fits your budget, then chances are it might be right for you. However, if you make too many sacrifices just to get a house, you may end up with buyer’s remorse, potentially forcing you to offload the house.
Even as prices soften, you may realize that the area where you want to buy a home is still out of reach, so it’s important to be flexible.
“If you badly want a house and can work remotely or switch jobs, moving to lower-priced housing markets is a good idea to consider,” says Frick. “Millions of Americans have done that already.”
Also, get all your ducks in a row in advance—review your financial situation, gather required documents, shop multiple lenders and strengthen your credit score. That way, when you find your dream home, you’ll be in a better position to act fast in a tight market.
“Only the best prepared, with their financing lined up, a solid understanding of what they can afford, and constant checking of prices and listings will be successful in today’s highly-competitive market,” says Frick. “Know how much your monthly payment will be—complete with taxes—and how well that fits into your budget.”
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