If you’re feeling like homeownership is in the cards this upcoming year, improving your position in a deep market is a top concern.

As you know, the real estate market continues to sizzle, as it did during the heights of the pandemic. Nothing appears to be slowing things down either.

With all that competition, it’s worthwhile to take concrete steps in preparation so you can get it right. Here are four things you can do to put you on a direct track to homeownership in 2022.

Focus on credit score
While interest rates remain low, there’s no guarantee rates will stay like that throughout 2022. A good credit score supports your goal of saving money. When lenders offer applicants favorable borrowing terms, a solid to excellent credit score is a big reason why.

Things like paying on time and watching the credit limit and balance can work wonders in improving your score. Most credit card companies embed consumer tools on apps and websites where you go to pay your bill. It’s really easy to see where you stand and learn ways to raise your score.

So as you plan your big move, remember how important it is to come in with a strong credit score. It’ll secure a low rate and opportunities for long-term savings.

Stay within budget
It’s easy to overpay given the market conditions. Homebuyers will want to move fast, and in their rush, can make less-than-favorable decisions.

Staying aggressive and competitive are keys to winning the market, but the decisions you make must also be grounded. With a prudent approach, you can monitor home prices within a target neighborhood. An unusually higher-priced home should set off alarm bells. This is an opportunity to see the pricing of the next listing, which could be more to your liking.

The takeaway is that some sellers will try to take advantage of today’s market conditions to maximize their home sale. At the same time, they risk overpricing their home, which can cause delays and raise questions. While someone might overpay, you shouldn’t have to. It’ll just take a little patience and prudence.

Leave no stone unturned for down payment
The biggest barrier for buying a home, next to the stiff competition, is saving for a down payment. For many, 20% as a down payment is out of reach.

Because of this reality, future homeowners should research every option at their disposal that can assist them. Federal, state and local programs can come in with the assist. Some programs, including Freddie Mac’s Home Possible, only requires as little as 3% down.

A simple search for “down payment assistance program” will produce countless results and resources, including the California Housing Finance Agency MyHome Assistance Program. Take your time and explore all the possibilities so you can get over the down payment hump.

Keep eyes open
In this market, homes can go fast, sometimes within a day or even hours! On average, however, homes sell in about 17 days, according to the National Association of Realtors. With that in mind, homebuyer should stay vigilant on real estate activity.

Apps make it easier than ever to receive immediate updates on homes that fit the homebuyer’s criteria. Take some time to set up these alerts on various apps for maximum exposure. This preparation will give you a decent idea for how the market is going. And when it’s your time to make a move, you’ll be ready to pounce.

If you are interested in purchasing a house in Placer County, contact us today!

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