Are you in the market for a new house but are worried about the sharply rising interest rates and expensive homes? You're not alone.
According to The Mortgage Reports, "in all likelihood, average interest rates will increase over the next three months. Of course, mortgage rates tend to be volatile so we could see some drops mixed in as well...Mortgage rates moved on from the record–low territory seen in 2020 and 2021 but are still low from a historical perspective." With this kind of uncertainty, it's no surprise that the rising costs have begun taking buyers out of the market. The great thing about the housing market is that it fluctuates, so with fewer buyers (and less demand for homes), housing prices will begin to dip. All we have to do is wait.
Of course, waiting is tough and sometimes not possible. Here are some ways to make the best of it, whether you're buying now or months from now.
Higher Down Payment
If you're looking to purchase a home now or in the coming months, the best way to counteract a high price tag is to put more money into your down payment. The more money you pay upfront, the less you'll have to pay in the long run. Plus, your down payment isn't subjected to high-interest rates, so you're taking money straight off your principal.
Pay Discount Points
If you plan to stay in your home for a long time, paying an upfront fee to receive discount points directly translates into a lower interest rate. These fees are paid at closing, along with your closing costs. With a lower interest rate, you'll pay less over time.
Choose a Conventional Loan
A Conventional loan allows you to drop Private Mortgage Insurance (PMI) once you've paid enough towards your principal. Other loans, especially an FHA loan, require PMI throughout the life of your loan. A PMI fee is often applied to loans to protect you and your mortgage lender should you default on your loan.
Choose an Adjustable Rate Mortgage
Typically, most borrowers choose a Fixed Rate mortgage. This means your interest rate stays the same year after year - your monthly mortgage payment will never change. However, Fixed Rate mortgages usually have a higher interest rate. For a lower rate, choose an Adjustable Rate Mortgage. You can take advantage of a lower rate now with the possibility of a higher rate later. An ARM is best for homebuyers who aren't looking to stay in their home for more than 3-5 years.
Before you begin putting in offers on homes, get preapproved. Not only does this give you a realistic budget, but it also lets sellers know you’re serious. As quickly as homes are selling, you need to stand out from the crowd. A preapproval letter from your lender will help you do just that.
Shop Around for Rates
Many borrowers don't know that they can shop around for lower interest rates. Not every lender will have the same interest rates, so look around! Private lenders typically offer lower rates than big banks.
Lock Your Rate Early
While rates are rising, they're still lower than years ago. Take advantage of interest rates before they reach a historical high - lock your interest rate in now. With a float-down option, you can even switch to a lower rate should it become available before you purchase your home.
Get a Cash-Out Refinance
Already own a home? Consider refinancing your current home instead of buying a new one. A Cash-Out refinance allows you to use your equity to pay off high-interest debt or add updates to your home.
- Paying off debt will increase your credit score. Using your refinance to pay off credit card debt or student loans will directly influence your credit score! You will qualify for a lower interest rate on a new home with a higher credit score.
- Updating your home adds value. Take that equity and put it right back into your home! Update your kitchen, bathroom, or landscaping. These are all great ways to get a return on your investment because they add value. This means you'll be able to sell your home for more when the time comes.
If you decide to wait out the housing market for lower interest rates or lower housing prices, it's good to begin budgeting now. Put aside money in your budget to add to a down payment. The more you can save now, the less you'll pay for your new home in the long run. Homes are selling fast, so you'll be ready with healthy finances and a big down payment when it's go-time.
Make Your Home Livable
Since you're staying in your home for a while longer, make it a home you love. Sure, kitchen and bathroom updates give the best ROI, but any updates add to your home's charm. Do you need space for a home office? Are your walls all the same shade of off-white? Want a backyard fire pit for this summer? Switch your guest room into a workspace. Paint those walls whatever color you want! Turn your backyard into the perfect summertime hangout. Don't worry too much about resale value. Instead, make updates on your home that make sense for you!
Buying a house is one of the biggest financial decisions you'll make - you don't need to do it alone! Reach out to one of our mortgage experts, who will guide you through this process. They will walk you through your options until you find the one that works best for you.