Home Prices on the Rise

Kaushik Mukerjee and Preeti Vasishtha faced stiff competition when they set out to buy a home last spring. The couple, who live in Northern Virginia and have an 8-year-old son, were looking for a home in a good school district, but they lost out to other bidders on two houses before their offer on a townhouse stuck. “In one case we competed against 10 other offers, and the home sold for $20,000 above list price,” Mukerjee says. Ultimately, the couple paid $502,000—slightly above list price—for a 2,000-square-foot, three-bedroom townhouse in Burke, Va.

Kody Henderson, a 26-year-old first-time home buyer, also grappled with a hyper­active market when he looked for a home in the Seattle area. He struck out on three before he snagged a three-bedroom single-family house for $465,000 in Burien, Wash., last November. “I kept getting beat by cash offers that were usually above list price,” says Henderson. “It was frustrating.”

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Here’s How to Buy a Home If You Can’t Save for a Down Payment

With millions of Americans facing financial burdens like student loans and high rents, saving up to make the traditional 20% down payment on a first home can be daunting. There’s good news for prospective home owners: You don’t need to do it.

Forty-six percent of millennials and 40% of Americans overall cited affording a down payment as their greatest financial barrier to home ownership, a recent COUNTRY Financial group survey found.

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You’d Better Ask These 5 Crucial Questions Before You Buy a House

No matter how many episodes of “House Hunters” or “Love It or List It” you’ve watched, buying a home inevitably comes with surprises. Though a sharp real estate agent will help you navigate these hidden challenges, before you start shopping for a house, you should take account of some important things that you probably haven’t considered.

Curious what you might be missing? Here are five questions you’d never think to ask yourself but totally should before buying a home.

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5 Common Myths About Home Appraisals That Aren’t True

So, you’ve found the home of your dreams! Before you pop the Champagne, you’ve still got a few steps before the deal is done. One of those is the home appraisal.

If you’re getting a mortgage, your lender will order an appraisal to have the property’s value professionally assessed. This helps ensure that the home is worth enough to serve as collateral for the value of the loan. That means the home must appraise at, or above, the agreed-upon purchase price.

It seems straightforward enough, but the process can be confusing, especially for first-timers. Here are five common myths about home appraisals.

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6 Things You’ll Love—and Hate—About Buying a Home This Spring

Welcome to the best—and worst—time to buy a home: spring! Yes, it’s peak home-buying season. However, it’s no bed of roses.

Knowing what to expect is half the battle, and can help you use these highs and lows to your advantage!

So consider this an essential prep course. Ready to dive into the best of times and the worst of times for home buying?

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Buying a Home? 7 Unsettling Emotions You’ll Feel Before the Deal Is Done

Buying a home may be a financial transaction, but it’s a highly emotional one, too. And while there are highs—like the moments you know you’ve found The One or you get the keys to your new home—you may also go through periods of high anxiety or hopelessness before you close the deal.

Ask any homeowner about their experiences buying a home, and you’ll hear a similar refrain: Purchasing property is utterly nerve-racking. With so many moving pieces, buying a home can feel like a high-stakes juggling act—only you don’t have time to practice.

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Should You Buy a New Home Before Selling Yours?

For many, it’s an enviable situation: You own a house and have the ability to buy a new home before selling your current place.

But even if you have the cash — or can qualify for a second mortgage — you’ll want to consider a few pros and cons before making the offer. One big consideration: In a seller’s market where houses are going for (or even above) list price, making an offer that’s contingent on the sale of your current home can make it difficult to compete against first-time buyers.

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