5 Tips for Finding an Affordable Home



First-time homebuyers or those looking to downsize might wonder: Where are all the starter/more affordable houses? Here are five tips for finding an affordable home:

  1. Be realistic.
  2. Adjust your wish list.
  3. Hire the right real estate agent.
  4. Rethink location.
  5. Make a strong offer.

1. Be realistic about today’s market

Sellers clearly have an advantage in the current market.  Housing inventory is low and home prices are soaring.

Be realistic about what you can afford and what amenities come with that budget.

2. Adjust your wish list

Buyers need to be open-minded about the location, size and condition of the home they want to buy.

For many buyers, a classic starter home, which traditionally doesn’t have many amenities, is more achievable.

Another strategy: Look for an older home in a well-established neighborhood. Resales typically cost less than brand-new homes.

3. Hire the right real estate agent

When you’re up against stiff competition, working with an experienced real estate agent who knows the local market is key.

Look for an agent who specializes in the neighborhoods you’re interested in. Savvy agents should be able to answer your questions about neighborhood amenities, local schools, crime and nearby home values.

A good buyer’s agent shines when it comes to negotiating the deal and writing a strong offer letter backed with solid data. Your agent can suggest certain strategies to win in a competitive market, such as limiting contingencies or writing a personal letter.

4. Rethink location

Buyers who sacrifice location for affordability can find themselves in a neighborhood far from major job centers with a long daily commute and expensive transportation costs.

Sometimes that trade-off makes sense, but not always.

5. Make a strong offer

An offer must have a loan preapproval accompany it.

A letter from you on your desire, ability and love of the house can help.

Other ways to entice sellers: Offer above asking price (if you can afford to), keep repair requests to a minimum, make a larger down payment or give them more time to move after closing.