Spring House Hunting is in Bloom!

Thanks to an improved job market, low mortgage rates, and the climbing rates of apartment-living, I am just one of many millennials who is more strongly entertaining the idea of owning a home. And with spring upon us, I am getting more and more excited to shop around!

Although today is a rainy, dreary day, it’s just fine by me (it isn’t snow!) because it means nice and flowery days of spring are just around the corner! That also means I can finally go house hunting in nice weather and get to see beautiful green yards and better imagine what gardening and grilling would be like at that house! Those happen to be two of my favorite things to do and why the prospect of owning a home is very endearing.

With all these bright, hopeful ideas swirling around in my mind, you can imagine my surprise when my real estate agent told me that shopping for a home this spring might not be so simple. According to the NAR's February existing-home sales report, lower priced homes are very limited. My real estate agent validated this data by showing me these charts from the Twin Cities Association of Realtors where the median sales price of homes year to date in the Twin Cities is now $221,000, which is up 5.5% over last year.  The median sales price in the area that interests me, the Mac-Grove neighborhood of St Paul, is $290,000!

So, the competition to find a home within most first-time home buyer’s budget is steep! “Affordability is a challenge this spring,” says Doug Duncan, Fannie Mae’s chief economist. Potential home buyers “would have gotten their credit in shape and they’ll have a job. But they will be frustrated because, in their market, there simply won’t be affordable homes.”

The good news is that Rochelle Allison & Team has strategies to proactively look for homes sellers that don’t have their homes on the market yet.  She told me that in this kind of market, Realtors have to get more creative and aggressive to find a home for their clients.  So one of the things she is doing is calling around the neighborhood to talk to homeowners to see if they are thinking of selling their home and it is proving to be effective.  She has found one home that the homeowner was getting ready to sell his home this year.  We plan on seeing that house right away!

While this market is a challenge and can be frustrating, I am trying to remain positive and manage my expectations. Therefore, I made a list of three things to do while I am searching for my perfect place!

  • Save Money! The more money I can save towards a down payment, the unexpected, and new home furnishings the better. When it comes to saving, time is always on our side!
  • Research Options! Thanks to social media, we are being bombarded with creative ideas from cooking to crafting
    to housing.
  • Create a Check List! Write down a list of things to do, such as keeping on an eye on my credit score, lowering my debt-to-income ratio, and even researching maintenance costs.

Watch for my next blog post coming soon with the continuation of my Journey to Home Buying.  Read about Phase One of my Journey to Home Buying at bit.ly/1pxIZxY.