Buying a home is a process, whether you’re a first-timer or a seasoned real estate pro. With all of its steps, tasks, requirements, and paperwork, it can seem rather challenging — and that’s before you throw an ongoing pandemic into the mix!
Here are a few specific tips to help you understand what you should expect when buying a home in the Springfield or Burke area in 2021.
It’s a Seller’s Market
Like in just about every other part of the country, it’s a seller’s market in Northern Virginia. This means that there are more prospective buyers than homes for sale, so if you find a home in good shape at a reasonable price, you’re likely to be competing for it.
Homebuying is More Digital Than Ever
When the pandemic turned the real estate market upside down in early 2020, visiting a home became particularly challenging. But agents, lenders, buyers, and sellers turned to virtual home tours, smaller open houses, digital meetings, and electronic closings to make things work. None of this is going away in 2021.
Homebuying Season Is Hot Year-Round
Spring and summer are the hottest real estate seasons in the area in a typical year, but due to a variety of factors, including remote work and school, 2021 will see an uptick in home buying in every season. Buyers should expect to look for – and find – great homes all year.
Home Prices Continue to Rise
Springfield and Burke saw home prices rise rapidly in 2020, and this is a trend that also isn’t ending just because a new year is here. Prices of existing homes are projected to increase 3% in 2021 according to an average of forecasts from Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, the National Association of Realtors, and the Mortgage Bankers Association.
Homes Won’t Stay on the Market Long
In Springfield’s 22152 zip code, homes have always sold quickly. In fact, last year they sold in an average of seven days, which was two months faster than the national median during a hot sales year. While 2021’s market may slow down just slightly in terms of home length on the market, buyer’s still shouldn’t dawdle when they find a home they like and can afford.
Getting Approved for a Mortgage May Take Longer
While buyers are making offers faster than ever, the process for getting approved for a mortgage is taking longer than usual. For this reason, buyers should absolutely get pre-approved before they start their house hunting in 2021.
Mortgage Rates Will Stay Low
While it may take longer to organize your mortgage lending this year, economists do expect the mortgage rate to remain low in 2021. And even though rates are generally low, it’s still important to shop around for a mortgage, so contact multiple lenders to compare mortgage rates and fees, and choose the best deal you’re offered.
Credit Scores/Down Payment Requirements May Be Higher
Obviously a credit score is just one factor related to a buyer’s ability to secure mortgage lending, but it’s true that some lenders have raised their credit score requirements amid the economic fallout from the pandemic. Some lenders may loosen credit requirements if the economy improves in 2021, but finding a lender may still be hard if you have a lower credit score.
Putting more money down not only helps you to qualify for a lower mortgage rate, but also gives sellers more confidence that your loan will close. With so many multiple-offer situations expected in 2021, sellers will be more likely to choose yours if you can show that you have the cash to sew up the deal.
Suburbs Will Stay Popular
2020 saw sales in the suburbs grow at the expense of cities. 2021 is anticipated to see more of the same, with buyers looking for larger homes, at-home office space, and yards. The Springfield and Burke areas are well-situated close to the convenience of the city, but with all of the amenities that 2021 buyers are looking to enjoy.
2021 could have more surprises in store for us, but here at List With Elizabeth, our expectations for the housing market are positive. We look forward to more inventory — including new construction — continued low-interest rates, and even better buying experiences as technology continues to afford us new, safe methods to view and purchase the home of your dreams.