If you haven’t heard, the current real estate market is expensive. Like, really expensive. And no, I don’t mean it’s expensive somewhere else like in California, or even Dallas. I’m talking about everywhere, including Sulphur Springs. Prices are increasing daily, and homes are flying off the market before the folks next door notice a “For Sale” sign in their neighbors yard. And unfortunately there’s no projected improvement anytime soon.
So what are we to make of all this? Why should you care about housing prices? What is your family supposed to do when you’re struggling to buy something? There are so many questions I get asked on a regular basis and today I have some answers.
The thing is there’s not enough space in this article for all of them. However, what I do want to focus on is the first-time homebuyers. Bad news first? Now is the worst time to be a first-time homebuyer in decades, and possibly in the history of this town. The numbers don’t lie. Over the last 5 years, median reported sales prices of single-family homes have increased a whopping 58.3%, (NTREIS) while the median household income has only increased 26.4% (US Census Bureau).
This in turn means that your dollars are worth less, and you can’t buy as much house as you once could. In fact, if you bought a house 5 years ago, there’s a good chance you wouldn’t be able to afford it today. So, you might think “If houses are more expensive than ever, gas is skyrocketing, my Walmart bill has doubled, and I haven’t gotten a raise in 2 years, how am I supposed to make it to next week!? Let alone buy a house!” And there’s no direct answer I can give on that but take a breath, I have some tips that could help you navigate with a clearer mind.
Here are 5 Tips to Stay Sane in the Real Estate Market:
Remember: Reality Bites.
Keep your sanity by realizing that the prices you knew 5 years ago are gone. And likely never coming back barring a major catastrophic event. But it is also true that our problems are not unique, and some areas of the country have it worse.
When considering buying a house, as competitive as it is, a great agent will keep you sane. Having a loyal, trustworthy real estate agent who will go the extra mile for you is priceless. Use every tool at your disposal starting with a good agent. Bonus points if they are an experienced lender.
When it comes to getting a mortgage you don’t need 20% down or anywhere near that much so please be careful with out of town lenders. Part of keeping your sanity here in Hopkins County is by understanding our rural real estate market is unique. And out of town lenders (especially out of state lenders) aren’t privy to how farm and ranch properties work. I would love to get into more details about this but trust me, it helps working with banks that are familiar with our area. If you do go out-of-state, be prepared for a process that can be extra stressful that could possibly end with a negative experience.
Now that you’re armed with a knowledgeable and trustworthy agent, you’ll need to find a house. And in this market, it takes a combination of patience and swift action to decide what’s best. Like I mentioned earlier there’s a good chance that house will be sold very quickly. Keep the crazy out of the hunt by communicating with your agent! They can set up automatic searches tailored for you so you receive automated emails the moment a house hits the market. An agent also has available tools to assist you in finding those properties that meet your criteria and help specify options.
The homebuying process is one of the most heavily regulated processes in the country. There are legal guidelines, inspection periods for due diligence, and other various rules that real estate agents have to abide by. A real estate agent should do everything within their power to provide protection for you during this process. By hiring a good one, you’ll keep your sanity as your agent handles the burden of the contract negotiation process.
The local market has unfortunately been a sore subject for several years. But this is my hometown and I’m not here to speak on the horrors of markets like the Bay Area or Toronto. I am only here to help put everything into perspective for those that may be unaware. In my opinion, these high prices are unfortunate because the median income can no longer afford the median house.
For this article, I included homes only on 5 acres or less to prevent skewing the numbers from typical single-family homes below:
From 2015-2017 the median price of a home ranged from $120,000 to $129,000. An average family could comfortably afford an average home if they managed their finances properly. However, over the last 12 months, the median price of a home has skyrocketed to $205,000. All while the median household only makes around $49,000.
There are numerous causes for this, but the result always ends with working class families consistently being expected to do more with less. As much as I’d love to propose solutions, my goal for this article is to spread awareness. Perhaps, you will come away with a better understanding and insight of the recent trends.
Although affordable homes are harder to find, rest assured that they do exist. With a little patience and the right people on your side, you can make it happen!
About the Contributor: Jed Walker works full-time in a family-owned business of Real Estate Appraisers. After getting a Bachelor’s degree from Sam Houston State University, Jed left a successful sales career in Dallas to return to the business his knows best—real estate. Combining both the mindset of an appraiser and a real estate agent allows him to bring his unique perspective and approach to the home buying process. He understands that buying a home is not just a financial investment but an emotional one. Add to that, his patience and “quick on the draw” updates are just a small part of what sets him apart from those just looking for a commission check. Jed also knows how best to market your home, land, or commercial property in the most efficient manner, both in price and time.