Is 2024 the year you become a homeowner? Aspiring homeowners experienced a lot of challenges in 2023, from elevated interest rates, rising home prices, and dreadful housing stock resulting in inflated costs that frustrated buyers. The last few years have been an absolute rollercoaster in the housing market, so what is in store for this new year? If you plan to dive into the housing market in 2024, you'll need to plan strategically to outpace the competition and attain a home that meets your preferences and goals.
As we step into the dynamic landscape that is the 2024 real estate market, look at it as a realm of both opportunities and challenges. Whether you’re a first-time buyer or a seasoned investor, understanding the current market trends and adopting a strategic approach can make all the difference in securing your dream home. This year is about taking control of your financial destiny, if you want to win in 2024, Wilkes Mortgage Group is here to support you every step of the way!
Tip #1: BUY NOW, DON'T WAIT!
Now is not the time to wait. When it comes to buying a home in 2024, we are done waiting. How many of you have been waiting for rates to drop again since 2020? Four years later, are you still in the same waiting game? Once rates start to lower, we're going to see a massive amount of people trying to jump on buying a house. You'll get a much better home if you buy NOW versus waiting. Get in NOW, even if the rate is higher than what you want, you can always just refinance down the road, especially working with our team.
Tip #2: GET CREATIVE WITH YOUR DOWN PAYMENT!
Explore different funding options for your down payment. Embarking on the journey to homeownership often involves financial considerations that require thoughtful planning. Two intriguing options to explore are receiving a gift from friends or family for the down payment and considering a one-time hardship loan from your 401(k).
Using a gift from friends or family, if possible, can be a great option because it offers many benefits. One of the significant advantages of receiving a gift is that it does not come with a repayment obligation. Your friends or family provide the funds outright, and you are not burdened by monthly payments, how you choose to pay them back can be discussed mutually between you and your lender. These funds provide flexibility in your homebuying process and can alleviate financial stress during a crucial phase of your life. The only thing to watch out for is that some mortgage lenders may have specific requirements regarding the source of your down payment. Some lenders may ask for a gift letter to confirm that the funds are indeed a gift and not a loan.
A 401(k) hardship loan is a provision that allows an individual to borrow funds from their 401(k) retirement savings account to address specific financial needs deemed as qualifying "hardships". When it comes to buying a home, using a 401(k) hardship loan for the down payment is one such application. Some of the benefits of this include that it allows you to access funds for your down payment without incurring taxes or penalties. This is because the loan is repaid directly into your 401(k) account. Unlike a withdrawal, a hardship loan allows you to maintain the integrity of your retirement savings. You repay the loan, including interest, back into your 401(k) over a specified period. Just keep in mind that while a hardship loan offers a way to access funds without penalties, it comes with a repayment obligation. Typically, you must repay the loan within a specific timeframe, often five years, and failure to do so could result in penalties.
Tip #3: ULTIMATELY DO WHAT FEELS RIGHT FOR YOU!
Ultimately, you have to make the decision that feels right for you financially and personally for your family. In the world of real estate, where trends and market dynamics are constantly shifting, here’s a refreshing and timeless piece of advice - don’t follow the trends blindly. Instead, listen to your instincts and buy a home when it feels right for you. While market conditions, interest rates, and economic factors can influence decisions, there’s inherent wisdom in following your gut. Buying a home is not just a financial decision; it’s a deeply personal one. Life events, career changes, or personal milestones may influence your readiness to become a homeowner. Trusting your instincts means recognizing and honoring your unique timeline rather than succumbing to external pressures.
At the end of the day, the regret of "what if" is the worst kind of regret. By trusting your gut feelings in the home-buying journey, you reduce the likelihood of looking back and wishing you had followed a different path. Your instincts can serve as a compass, guiding you toward choices that resonate with your values and aspirations.
Don't forget to stay flexible and adaptable! Flexibility is a virtue in the ever-changing real estate market. Be open to adjusting your strategy based on market conditions, interest rate shifts, and emerging trends. Adapting to the dynamic nature of the market ensures a smoother home-buying experience. Here at Wilkes Mortgage Group, we're more than ready to help you navigate the 2024 housing market and get you into your dream home!