Recognize June as Homeownership Month | News, Sports, Jobs


As you may know, June is homeownership month. During the month, we celebrate the value of owning a home for families and communities across the country. In addition, we recognize organizations that help people realize their dream of home ownership. We appreciate HUD (US Department of Housing and Urban Development), the Federal Housing Administration, and all of our real estate agents, financial and housing advisors, and housing assistance programs. Together they help so many people find their home.

Last year was a great year for sellers, with house prices skyrocketing almost 20% following multiple competing offers. This is the largest annual increase in house prices in the history of the housing index. Homes sell quickly regardless of the condition of the property. It was a different story for potential buyers, as home inventory was very low and competition for homes was fierce. This year continues to bring new challenges to potential buyers with still low inventory and rising interest rates. Inflation also makes it harder for potential first-time home buyers to save for a down payment. However, all is not lost and there are ways to gain a competitive edge when buying your first or third home.

When deciding to buy a home, check your financing options. To determine how much you could potentially borrow, get prequalified with a lender. This requires you to provide information such as your income, debts, assets, and credit score. Getting pre-qualified is not a loan guarantee as nothing is verified, but it will help you get an idea of ​​the price range you should be looking at. Get pre-approved to be better prepared to make an offer on a home. This takes you further into the mortgage approval process, where your identity, income, debts, assets and credit score/history are verified. All relevant financial documents are collected and executed through a process called underwriting. This process assesses your creditworthiness and ability to repay the loan. This process also looks for inaccuracies and discrepancies in the information you have provided. If you are approved by the underwriting process, you receive an underwriting pre-approval. When you find a house, closing that house will go much faster since you have already done the hardest part. Having an unwritten pre-approval will also make your deals more attractive to sellers because the deal is less likely to fall through.

Another way to gain advantage is to include only essential contingencies in your offer. Such contingencies would be the loan contingency and the appraisal contingency. One contingency that could be circumvented is the contingency of an inspection if the buyer is ready to purchase the home “as if.” It is always important for the buyer to get a home inspection to know the condition of the house, but this would be a guide, not a bargaining tool. Another strategy is to lead with your highest/best bid when bidding. Offer only what you can afford and for which funding has been approved. Then, when your offer is accepted, be flexible in the negotiations. Chances are the seller has other buyers lined up behind you, so just focus on the non-negotiables. And, of course, use a realtor in your home buying search; their expertise in the field will help you get closer to realizing your dream of home ownership.

The struggle for first-time home buyers to save enough for a down payment has gotten tougher. Between the rising cost of rent and rising inflation prices on everything from gas to food, that extra money is being used for essential living. However, there are many different programs that can help you. For first-time home buyers, various programs help provide low-interest financing to low-to-middle income earners. Additionally, there are programs that offer assistance with down payments and closing costs. There are also opportunities for others to buy a home. Check out NewHomeSource to learn more about the many programs available for those in Ohio.

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So just because today’s market is a little tougher doesn’t mean you should give up on your dream of home ownership. Do your due diligence and research and be as prepared as possible. Where there is a will, there is a way!

Marlin Palich is President of Stark Trumbull Area Realtors, which serves Stark, Carroll and Trumbull counties.

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