The National Association of Realtors reported that many prospective homebuyers are looking for properties with home offices, yard space and plenty of room to accommodate the whole family. Prospective homebuyers are also shifting neighborhood preferences from urban to suburban areas, and over 77 percent of those who plan to sell believe they will do so following the end of stay-at-home orders, which means aspiring homeowners should prepare now.
While a lot has changed over the last few months, the desire to own a home doesn’t just disappear. Deciding when to become a homeowner is a personal decision for everyone, but with mortgage rates at all-time lows and home prices stable, this may be the right time for prospective homebuyers.
According to a recent CoreLogic report, nationwide home prices are anticipated to rise over the next year, but home prices in Clark County are anticipated to decline. Those who have been preparing their finances to buy a home could take advantage of this opportunity.
We know that some prospective homebuyers can afford a monthly mortgage payment but are struggling to come up with the upfront costs of homeownership.
In fact, 69 percent of prospective homeowners say the biggest barrier is saving enough money for a down payment and closing costs, according to Bank of America’s homebuyer insights.
Solutions exist to help prospective buyers get over this hurdle and into their dream homes. Between low down payment mortgage options and grant programs, qualified borrowers may be eligible for up to $17,500 toward their dream home in Clark County. While homebuying may feel overwhelming, a Bank of America lending officer can help you navigate the process and explain the financial support available.
How can you determine if sustainable homeownership is achievable for you? Here are a few tips to get started:
■ Educate yourself. While you’re likely binge-watching TV right now, switch it up with some productive programming about financial readiness and the homebuying process from Bank of America. The more you educate yourself about the homebuying process beforehand, the less stressful it will be, and being educated on the topic means you’ll be armed with the right questions to get the house you want for a price you can afford.
■ Understand what you can afford. A good rule of thumb is to ask yourself: “How much should I borrow?” instead of, “How much could I borrow?” This approach focuses on the amount that comfortably fits your budget. Take your income before taxes and multiply that by 28 percent or use an online affordability calculator.
■ Add to your savings. Saving money for a down payment is no small feat. There are many downpayment assistance programs designed to help creditworthy borrowers become homeowners. By combining downpayment assistance and closing cost help with a low-down payment loan, you may find that a new home is within reach.
■ Take advantage of discounts. Some new homebuilders offer discounts, free upgrades or cover closing costs to attract buyers. Check out new home communities in your desired neighborhoods and see if these incentives will help you save.
■ Make the most of screen time. Use digital tools to browse for homes and get prequalified or preapproved for a mortgage from home. By entering information about your income, assets and other basics online or via the bank’s mobile app, Bank of America’s Digital Mortgage Experience can provide an estimate of the mortgage amount you’d qualify for.
Most current homeowners believe that owning a home is worth the challenges it took to achieve, and with some patience, professional assistance and research, sustainable homeownership is within your reach.
Erik McKenzie is the area lending manager for Bank of America.