By Marilyn Kennedy Melia, CTW Features
The housing market has slowed to a crawl, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t plenty of buyers out there.
Like benched athletes who are hoping to be called into the game, buyers are looking to jump in when the right opportunity comes up.
In the market frenzy of 2021 and early 2022, buyers were dropping out because they were discouraged from losing bidding wars; today escalating mortgage rates “have weeded out many of the marginally qualified buyers,” observes Max Stokes of Fox & Stokes Team, Compass Realty in Ridgewood, NJ.
Here are some tips on how these hopefuls might soon find their long-awaited buying opportunity:
- Check out all new listings.
Philadelphia Compass agent Brett Rosenthal sends all his sidelined clients “alerts on homes so they can see what’s going on in the market.” Buyers can also set alerts for themselves on popular home shopping sites.
“Our advice is to stay locked on the market and know what’s available,” says Chris Cook, of The Halyard Group, RE/MAX Hallmark, Toronto. “If there’s a good match, we’re recommending written offers, even if they seem too low.”
- Keep talking with your loan officer.
Mortgage loan officers “reputations depend on referral business and (a good one) will not miss an opportunity to communicate market turns,” says Rick Palandri with First Centennial Mortgage. Before selecting a specific home, lenders should be able to underwrite a potential borrower, by asking for income and asset documents, and running a credit check, he explains. Then, when the right home comes up, a potential buyer can find out what the mortgage will cost at current rates.
- Work to strengthen your financial position.
For down payment savings, “what is important is liquidity, meaning the funds can be converted to cash easily and quickly without a substantial drop in value,” explains John Salter, of Evensky & Katz/Foldes Wealth Management. Money market funds and savings accounts earn some interest and are liquid, he adds.
Isabel Mota, with East Greenwich, RI realty Engel & Volkers, adds that she advises “clients to keep their credit score up” and to consult with a financial advisor.