Figuring out how to buy a house is no small feat—particularly since the rules keep on changing. So even if you’ve bought a home in the past and feel like the process is old hat, watch out: What worked in 2017 might not fly in 2018. It’s a whole new real estate world out there!
In an effort to prepare you, here are some of the new rules on how to buy a house this year. You will face new tax codes, an onslaught of tough competition, and more that will require you to hone your home-buying skills more than ever. But knowing what awaits you is half the battle. Check out this refresher on how to buy a house in 2018.
1. Know how the new tax codes affect you
Although the recent tax reforms have stirred up concerns that they’re putting homeownership further out of reach for many Americans, the reality is more nuanced than that—and shouldn’t deter home buyers from making the leap.
For instance: In 2018, homeowners can deduct mortgage interest on loans up to $750,0000. That’s down from $1 million, but keep in mind that, according to realtor.com® data, the median list price for a home is only $270,000. As such, this change is expected to affect just 1.3% of new mortgages.
Bottom line: Don’t give into vague fears about the new tax code without doing your homework and understanding how it affects you. Here’s more on how new tax codes affect home buying.
2. Prepare for some cutthroat competition
Housing stock continues to be at record lows across the country. As such, you should prepare to wage battle against the worthiest foe of all: all-cash buyers.
In January of last year, 23% of all home purchases were made with all cash with no mortgage, according to the National Association of Realtor®’s Confidence Index Survey Report—and some experts say that number will rise through out the year. These buyers have the edge since they don’t have to secure financing, so they’re particularly appealing to home sellers. But that doesn’t mean it’s hopeless.
One way to stand out among offers: Ask sellers about their own goals in the sale. If you can help meet them, such as having a closing date in a few months, you could stand out by being flexible. Here’s more on how to compete with all-cash buyers.
3. Get street-wise about what you read online
I’m not knocking “For Sale” signs planted in front lawns; however, these days perusing real estate listings online on sites such as realtor.com is par for the course. Yet while it’s a definite perk to be able to shop for homes on your laptop or phone, it would be naive to instantly believe everything you see.
- Offers that sound too urgent (e.g., “available at this price for only today!”)
- Listings asking for personal information such as your Social Security number
- Home sellers or listing agents who are “out of the country” or otherwise unavailable
If you’re considering a move, please give me a call. I’m happy to help you with your home search. I can be reached at 301-320-8349 or 703-963-0142. My email is firstname.lastname@example.org.