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Smart tips for homebuyers navigating the winter housing market

Posted on Tuesday, February 24, 2015 at 11:19:17 AM

Home sales are always a bit touch-and-go in the winter, as recent reports from the National Association of Realtors showed existing-home sales improving in December, but slipping slightly in January. However, 2014 was an overall year of steady gains, and that momentum should continue into 2015.

One other point from NAR was the lack of inventory across the country. A smaller number of homes for sale can drive up prices, as more buyers compete over fewer listings. From this point of view, buyers need to be careful to ensure they are saving money ahead of their next home purchase. 

To help with that important goal, Andrew Shartenberg, mortgage bankers with Home Loan Investment Bank, offered a few tips for the prospective homebuyer. 

"One way to get ready for a new mortgage payment is to put aside the difference between your current housing payment and the new mortgage for six months," he explained. "This will get you ready for the higher monthly expense, as well as save you some extra money."

Even with smart saving, first-time homebuyers can still feel a bit overwhelmed about the whole process. According to Shartenberg, the more novice buyers prepare, the better off they'll be.

"First-time homebuyers should get pre-qualified and be ready to pull the trigger when the right house comes along," he noted. "As the market moves forward, competition among buyers will only increase, so it's important to get your ducks in a row well ahead of time by meeting with a mortgage professional."

Combine a smart residential financing professional with some fiscal know-how, and homebuyers will be well on their way toward navigating the tricky housing market.