Understanding and Navigating a Volatile Housing Market in Virginia
The current economic climate is a challenge for everyone, especially if you’ve been thinking about buying a new home. Housing market volatility in Virginia is nothing unusual and is being reflected in states across the country. But despite the panic that you see in media outlets, there’s good reason to stay calm in the middle of this storm.
Having some understanding of how the market operates and what your options are when it comes to purchasing a house can help to ease uncertainty and fear. Plenty of prospective buyers are out there, navigating the current Virginia housing market conditions to find their dream home. If you’re hoping to do the same in 2022, this guide will help to prepare you for the rocky, but exciting, road ahead.
Stability in the housing market
When you’re looking for ways to invest your money and see your savings grow, real estate is usually one of your best options. It’s less volatile than the stock market and, according to a survey by Gallup, has been the most favored long-term investment option for Americans over the last eight years.
If you’re planning to buy a home for your family rather than a rental property, you’re likely planning to stay put in one location for a number of years. In that time, the market will naturally shift up and down, but once you’re in your new home, you can ride out the storms until the seas are a little calmer.
With all that in mind, the biggest question that you need to ask is if you feel that you’re financially ready to buy a property. If you feel confident in your “yes”, moving ahead with a home purchase can be one of the most worthwhile investments that you’ll ever make.
Understand your financial security and readiness to buy a home
So how do you determine whether you’re ready for this big step? You need to think about a few key areas before making your decision and meeting with a realtor.
If you’re a first time buyer and used to moving around different rental properties, you should seriously think about whether or not you’re prepared to have a long-term home in one location.
Look at the bigger picture of your life as you assess this – are you happy in your current job or the place you’re living and working in? Do you have social commitments nearby that you want to continue with? Putting down roots is a big step so don’t skip over this.
You also need to think about the practicalities of buying a home. Do you have a steady source of income to make your monthly mortgage payments and any maintenance that your home requires? Do you have savings built up for the closing costs and a down payment on a property?
For many first time buyers, the expenses that come with buying a house can come as a surprise. Take a look at our First Time Home Buyers Guide to give you an idea of what to expect.
Share your needs and wants with your realtor
You’ve made the decision that buying a home is the right move for you and you’re ready to start house-hunting. But is it a good time to buy a house in the Shenandoah Valley? We think so. Your realtor can give you a good picture of the Virginia housing market conditions at the time you’re looking to buy. Make use of their expert knowledge about the local area to find a home that’s right for you.
Be honest and upfront with your realtor about your preferences and any constraints that you have. The market is moving quickly these days, so wasting time on houses that aren’t right for you can quickly see you missing out on the ones that could be your dream home.
A good realtor will find properties within your desired parameters and can give you advice on what’s available for your budget or price range in the area that you’re searching in. No matter the property size or location that you’re searching in, your realtor is there to support and guide you through this process.
Prepare the necessary documentation
Before you get too far into your home search, take the time to prepare all of your legal and financial documents for your mortgage pre-approval. Pre-approval can save significant time when you’re trying to get a home loan and allows you to be pre-qualified before you start making offers on properties.
There are certain documents that all lenders need to see to process your loan package. On your first visit to F&M Bank, you should bring:
- Originals and copies of your photo ID
- One month of pay stubs and proof of employment
- Your Federal Income Tax return for the previous two years
- W2s and 1099s (if applicable) for the previous two years
- Checking, savings, or other asset account statements for the previous two years
Other documents may be required depending on your individual situation.
Stay flexible in the search process
With housing market volatility in Virginia making properties fly off the shelves within weeks, or even days, it’s important to understand that you may need to make some compromises on your list of “wants.” In a seller’s market, inventory is low but demand for houses is high, which can make for stiff competition among competitive buyers.
To be in with a chance of having an offer accepted, you’ll need to make a strong offer that’s within your budget. Other buyers will be planning to do the same, so you need to make your offer as tempting and hard to refuse as possible. Ask your lender and realtor for guidance here.
As difficult as it may be, staying patient is crucial. You may lose out on a number of homes at the start of your search. Unfortunately, that’s common for many homebuyers in 2022. But the right property is out there and has your name written all over it!
Get expert financial support when buying a new home
At F&M Bank, we know that buying a home is one of the biggest decisions that you’ll ever make. That’s why our team of mortgage advisors are here to guide you through the process, whether it’s your first home or your fifth.
A good pre-approval is a great way to find out how much you can take out as a home loan and the best place to start to determine your budget. We strive to make your home buying experience as smooth and easy as possible. Contact us today to get started and to ask any questions that you might have. We’d be glad to help you find your dream home!