The Top 5 Expert Tips For Home Buyers In 2023

Over the last two years, you heard endless complaints from your friends and family about multiple offers, skyrocketing prices, and ruthless sellers. For one reason or another, you decided not to buy a home in 2022. But that has only given you the time to save up for an even better down payment. Maybe the time you spent searching has given you a stronger grasp of your local market, and you feel ready. Or, perhaps a matter of circumstance has propelled you into the housing market of 2023. So what does it look like?

It will be different from the markets of 2021 and 2022. Mortgage rates are in a diverse range, economic uncertainty creates hesitation, and inventory is gradually increasing. But as Go Banking Rates notes, timing the market is not a viable strategy. Anybody waiting on perfectly low-interest rates and low prices will likely never purchase a house. If you have capital, a defined motivation to buy, and are educated on the real estate process, 2023 could be a fantastic opportunity to buy. So with that, here are five expert tips for home buyers in 2023.

See three houses

Start with the fun part. Before getting to the paperwork and other less enjoyable parts of the buying process, see three houses in your local market. Often, buyers will not even necessarily know what kind of house they are looking for until they see it. You might begin the process thinking you know exactly what type of house you want. But you may also realize, upon further touring and thought, that you actually want a different style or location or have preferences that were more important to you than you realized. 

After seeing some initial properties, it can be helpful to make a list of your must-haves, deal-breakers, and would-likes to give you a clearer sense of direction within your search. HomeLight notes that details like muted tone finishes and open-concept layouts were at the top of buyers' lists in 2022. So what details are on yours? These initial tours are important.

Explore financing options

Without a doubt, it is an incredible time to be a cash buyer. Prices are not increasing the way they were a year ago, and it is even easier now to seal a deal with a cash purchase with less competition. But as that scenario does not apply to most home buyers, and mortgage rates have increased, understanding mortgage options is critical for buyers going into 2023.

As noted by Bankrate, a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage is currently sitting just above 6.6%. A 15-year fixed-rate mortgage is right at 6%, while adjustable-rate mortgages are just under 5.5%. While most consumers are at least vaguely familiar with the workings of a fixed-rate mortgage, an adjustable-rate mortgage works differently. An adjustable-rate mortgage can be a great introductory product for buyers looking for a more reasonable rate. The product is typically locked in at a lower interest rate for a shorter number of years, like 5 or 10. After that, the mortgage rate goes back to market value. However, the buyer can refinance at any time within that window should mortgage rates go down.

Don't shy away from inspections

As previously mentioned, this market will be different from the past two years in that buyers will have more room to negotiate. Inventory is gradually increasing, providing more competition for sellers. Thus, sellers will be more inclined to accommodate repair requests to sell the property. Rocket Mortgage notes that some of the more common and reasonable repair requests often asked during inspections include roof repairs, plumbing matters, HVAC issues, and pest control.

While a distressed or historical property might be a more extensive overhaul, functionality is most important when it comes to these matters. Moving to a snowy climate? Focus on the roof. Moving in the summer? Get the HVAC replaced. Don't expect all repair requests to be addressed, but don't think the deal will quickly fall apart over them. Minor cosmetic details should not be the focus, as those can be fixed later.

Map out your lifestyle

If you are analytical and prefer a more concrete plan before looking at houses, lifestyle can be an alternative starting point to your search. Realty Biz News considers taking personal stock of everything you love about your life. Whether it be the convenience of living by the ocean, preserving a daily ritual of yoga in the park, or being within walking distance of that incredible elementary school, sometimes evaluating all of these details before the home-buying process can simplify which specific and exact neighborhood, streets, and builds you think are right for you.

Think about your day-to-day living outside of your residence. Do you work from home? How long is your commute to the office? Is it essential to be near a walkable downtown center? Really map out a list of questions and answers pertaining to you, and you might be surprised by what it reveals about your next real estate purchase.

Educate yourself on the process

There remains a great deal of mystery surrounding the real estate process, particularly when it comes to young buyers. The National Association of Realtors reports that almost 60% of home buyers feel anxiety when participating in a real estate transaction. Some of these fears include sentiments like missing out on the ideal property and lacking the financial stability to make monthly mortgage payments. 

One of the best decisions any buyer can make at the beginning of their search, in conjunction with looking at some houses, is to sit down with a trusted real estate advisor and walk through what to expect. Did you know that you are expected to wire as much as 3% of the property's purchase price within a matter of days of opening escrow? Details like this can be pretty jarring and shocking for someone who has never bought a house. It's a big deal. So treat your education like a big deal, and you will feel prepared and, at the very least, aware of what to expect.