How Homebuyers Can Win a Bidding War

If you’re buying a home right now, you might find the competition is stiff: More than 60 percent of homes faced a bidding war, a recent Redfin report found, thanks to low mortgage rates and scarce inventory.

Your offer will need to rise to the top. But how? We asked some real estate pros how to make an offer that will win a bidding war.

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Home Buyers Loving the Suburbs Again

For years, buyers have been flocking to cities and close-in suburbs, seeking a boost in quality of life by shortening their commutes and gaining easy access to restaurants and cultural events. The pandemic turned that trend on its head.

Last year, a number of city dwellers migrated to the suburbs and exurbs to get more space, both indoors and outdoors. Gaining the freedom to telecommute gave more buyers the ability to move from urban centers. A survey from the American Institute of CPAs found that 42% of employed Americans worked remotely at some point during the pandemic. Companies such as Twitter, REI and Square have announced plans to let employees work remotely indefinitely.

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Why This Winter Should Be One of the Best Ever for Home Sales

The temperature may be going down as we inch closer to winter, but home prices in the U.S. are still heating up — and there are few signs of cooling.

Normally, home sales peak in the summer and slow once kids start returning to school. That was not the case this year.

In the third quarter of 2020, median single-family home prices rose in all 181 metropolitan areas tracked by the National Association of Realtors. Of those, 117 saw double-digit price growth from a year earlier. Meanwhile, the median sales price of an existing home sold in October 2020 hit $313,000, up from $271,100 in October 2019 and $310,600 in August, according to NAR.

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In the Competitive Coronavirus Housing Market, This Loophole Is Making It Easier to Buy a House

The pandemic’s latest effect on the housing market could be a good one for borrowers: Fewer mortgages are requiring a home appraisal, which is making it a whole lot easier for some people to purchase a home or qualify for a loan refinance.

According to a September report from the public policy think tank American Enterprise Institute, appraisals were waived on 42% of all government-sponsored purchase and refinance mortgages in July, up from roughly 20% in December.

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How the Pandemic Is Persuading Millennials to Leave the City and Make Living in the Suburbs … Cool?

City living treated Dylan Gray well. For two years, Gray, 26, rented an apartment in downtown Indianapolis with bars, restaurants, and his office all in walking distance. But when the coronavirus pandemic required him to start working remotely, Gray set his sights on buying a home in Broad Ripple, a neighborhood with a suburban feel located six miles north of downtown.

“Once my ability to walk to work was no longer a factor, it made sense for me to buy a house, especially given how low rates are right now,” says Gray, a business analyst at Salesforce. He purchased a 3-bedroom detached house for $230,000 last month, using a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage with a 3.3% interest rate.

Before the pandemic, many Americans relished the perks of living in a big city. According to a 2016 Census Bureau report, about eight in 10 Americans lived in urban areas. But COVID-19 has some urbanites reevaluating where they want to live—and the type of homes the want to live in. During the second quarter of this year, 51% of property views by urban residents of America’s 100 largest metros went to suburban properties, an all-time high since Realtor.com began tracking metro level search data in 2017.

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Fall Homebuying Outlook: Everything You Need to Know About Prices, Supply and Mortgage Rates

With spring homebuying season disrupted by the coronavirus, would-be house hunters may be wondering if this fall will be a good time to buy.

The housing market is typically slow after August, as kids settle in for the school year and the weather starts to cool in much of the country. But, this year, the answer to that question—like so many posed since the start of the pandemic—is maybe, it depends.

To help you make the best decision for you, we’ve outlined a few expert predictions, as well as four pros and three cons of purchasing a home this fall.

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How to Get Preapproved for a Mortgage: A Step-by-Step Guide for Homebuyers

Ready to get serious about buying a home? Get preapproved for a mortgage.

In a nutshell, a mortgage preapproval letter is a written statement from a lender affirming that you’ve qualified for a home loan and specifying how much money the lender will allow you to borrow. Historically, sellers have preferred offers that include such a letter, but many have begun requiring that buyers get preapproved before even taking a tour.

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House Hunters Now Need Pre-Approval Letters to Walk in the Door. What the Trend Means for Buyers, Sellers and Agents

Home buyers eager to take advantage of low interest rates are rushing to schedule home tours, just recently allowed in some places as stay-at-home restrictions are eased. To curtail potential exposure to the coronavirus, however, many sellers are trying to limit the number of people traipsing through their properties. To achieve this, real estate agents are suggesting that sellers only admit buyers who have been pre-approved for a mortgage.

A pre-approval letter is a written offer from a lender stating that a potential buyer has been tentatively approved for a mortgage and how much they would be permitted to borrow.

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How to Buy a Home When You Can’t See It in Person

When you buy a house, you need to tour it. So that’s what Cat and Bobby Boucher did before making an offer on a three-bedroom townhome in Alexandria, Va., earlier this month. The only difference: The Bouchers never set a foot inside — instead, Cat toured the home through a private video showing with the seller over Facebook.

“The seller was only offering video tours, and seeing the home that way felt a little strange but it made sense considering that a lot of people are staying in their homes because of COVID,” says Cat, 30, who loved the property and its private backyard — a big upgrade from the 875-square foot one-bedroom with no yard where the couple currently lives. “I just want to be outside, especially during quarantine,” she says

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You Can Still Buy and Sell a Home During the Coronavirus Outbreak

Spring is usually the busiest time of year for real estate. It’s when house hunters and home sellers come out of hibernation mode and descend on the market in droves. But this year—in the era of COVID-19—is different.

The coronavirus outbreak has rocked the economy and upended many industries, including real estate. As Americans across the country are sheltering at home, many home buyers are left wondering: Should I buy a home now, or wait until quarantine measures loosen and the economy picks up again? The same goes for sellers wondering when they should list their home.

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