Contra Costa is one of the hottest real estate markets in California and the United States. Nestled on the east side of the San Francisco Bay Area, Contra Costa's population has increased nearly 15% since 2010. More than 1.2 million people now call Contra Costa County home.
With Contra Costa's popularity comes major challenges for homebuyers. This is especially true for first-time homebuyers without an existing asset to leverage.
Read on to learn five home buying tips for the Contra Costa real estate market. Explore sage advice that is certain to help you with your forever home purchase.
1. Marry the House Date the Rate
Interest rates are on everyone's mind in the real estate market. This is no surprise as the average rate on a 30-year mortgage is now higher than 7%.
Nationwide, nearly 92% of homeowners have a mortgage rate of less than 6%. A high proportion of these homeowners have less than a 4% rate.
However, many economists expect the U.S. Federal Reserve to lower rates in spring 2024. When rates start dropping, homebuyers can refinance their mortgages and secure a lower rate. Ultimately, you should not let temporarily high mortgage rates stop you from buying your dream home.
2. Act Quickly
The reason that home prices are still high is because of limited inventory. Many homebuyers are competing for fewer homes for sale. It is still a seller's market in spite of the interest rate hesitancy.
To land a new home in these conditions, it is important to act quickly and assertively. This is not a good time to lowball your offer. If you like a home, make a quick and strong offer to get ahead of the competition.
3. Use Virtual Tours
As noted above, speed is essential in a seller's market. You may not have time to schedule a traditional tour or wait for an open house.
Modern technology allows for virtual tours. Here, you can get a good and quick look at the house from the comfort of your own home. From there you can move to the offer stage.
4. New Construction
New housing starts are at their highest level since last May. This presents an opportunity for buyers frustrated with their ability to find an existing single-family home.
There are many advantages to shopping for a new home. Many homebuilders offer their own lines of financing or have special arrangements with the banks. You can also confidently waive property inspections and other time-consuming tasks.
5. Stay Flexible
To the best of your ability, you want to remain flexible during the homebuying process. Make sure you have your ducks in a row like mortgage pre-approval.
This is not the ideal market for contingency offers. You should also try to avoid asking the seller to pay for closing costs. Any unusual demands about the closing may scuttle the deal.
Your Guide to the Best Home Buying Tips
Buying a home is not easy right now. Not only is inventory low, but savvy real estate investors are acting decisively to purchase the few options listed.
PMI Contra Costa has decades of experience providing sound home buying advice. If you need more home buying tips, contact us to schedule an appointment today.