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Home sales rise, buyers interested in residential financing may encounter competing bids

Posted on Tuesday, February 25, 2014 at 9:02:25 AM

The number of existing-home sales, typically the most common type of property sold across the U.S., increased in December, according to the National Association of Realtors. In total, 2013's sales reached their highest mark since 2006, with 5.09 million sales reported. One reason for the positive gains may be related to stronger economic conditions, such as job growth and lower residential financing rates.

However, these favorable conditions may lead to a crowded real estate segment, with many interested parties facing competing bids and a limited inventory. In order to come out of the housing market on top, Andrew Shartenberg, a mortgage banker with Home Loan Investment Bank, offered up some valuable advice for those looking for a new house.

"The best thing buyers can do to land their dream home when facing stiff competition is be ready to move quickly," he explained. "This means getting pre-approved with an experienced mortgage originator before starting the home search and working with a Realtor."

Even with the best professionals nearby, prospective homebuyers still have to plan ahead in order to prepare for the significant financial investment of ownership, as well as residential financing. According to Shartenberg, one way to do this is with a budget.

"As a potential homebuyer, it's important to prepare a comprehensive monthly budget," he noted. "This is especially true if it will be the first time owning a home. Experienced mortgage originators and Realtors can aid greatly in bringing to light some of the hidden costs of ownership, which even an experienced buyer may not have thought of."

Above all else, it is important to remember that buying a home is a complicated process, and the many paths to do so may not suit each person. Therefore, when planning for residential financing and a new home, look for professional advice.

"The number of loan products available today are increasing and it's not always clear what the best option may be," concluded Shartenberg. "What fits a first-time homebuyer may not be appropriate for someone upgrading or even downsizing. The best mortgage originators are planners who work with a client toward achieving their long-term financial goals."