If you’ve been paying attention to real estate in the last few years, you know it’s been a wild ride. Rock-bottom mortgage rates pushed demand higher and higher, outpacing supply in many markets, resulting in skyrocketing home prices. 2022 began to see a shift in these trends
, and buyers and sellers alike were left with a lot of questions. As usual, people turned to the internet. In this post, we’re breaking down the five most Googled real estate questions in 2022. Google can be helpful, but there’s nothing more valuable than insight from an experienced realtor like Serena Conti.
Is it better to buy or rent?
This has always been a common question for first-time home buyers looking to get started in home ownership. However, with increasing interest rates this year, the cost of buying a home may have increased for some buyers, and the decision to buy or rent may seem less clear than a year or two ago. There are a lot of great reasons to buy a home, and now may be just the right time for you.
Owning your home provides stability that renting does not. Inflation has increased prices for nearly every sector of the economy, including rent
. Owning a home with a fixed mortgage guarantees that payments will stay relatively flat, save for a few variables like taxes and insurance. In addition to predictable costs and security, home ownership comes with tax benefits that renting doesn’t. And most importantly, owning a home helps the homeowner to build equity as the property continues to appreciate value, while renting is helping the landlord to build equity.
At the end of the day, making the leap from renting to buying is a serious and personal decision. If you’re considering this exciting step, contact a qualified realtor like Serena Conti to help advise you on the current market and whether now is the right time for you to buy. This brings us to the next most Googled real estate question in 2022.
Should I hire a real estate agent?
As we’ve already alluded to in this post, the real estate market has taken some dramatic swings over the last year. Whether you’re a new buyer, a seasoned real estate investor, or considering the sale of your home, having a real estate agent is more important than ever. A qualified real estate agent can walk you through everything from the first-time home buying process to properties with the best investment potential, strategies to get the best sale price for your home, and more. For sellers, hiring the right agent could be the difference in tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars in your pocket. And for buyers, your agent’s cost is typically covered by the seller. A real estate agent should not be considered a luxury service but a necessity. When you’re ready to either buy or sell, consider Serena Conti.
How large of a down payment do I need to buy a home?
Another frequently Googled real estate question is how much you should put down on the purchase of your home. There is a common misconception that buyers must put down at least 20% to buy a home. For many young first-time buyers, this feels like an insurmountable hurdle. But the truth is that most buyers can buy a home for as little as 3% down. Of course, the amount a buyer puts down will affect factors such as monthly payments, mortgage rates, and insurance costs, among others.
For example, a down payment of less than 20% typically requires private mortgage insurance (PMI). But this is only a temporary cost, and depending on your financial situation, it may be worth it. Contact a trusted lender to talk through the potential costs and scenarios that make the most sense for you. Serena Conti is happy to refer you to her network of trusted lenders.
How do I find the right home to buy?
If you have your finances in order, now comes the exciting part - searching for the right home! Google can be helpful for this, but a realtor who knows the local market is even better. Maybe you’re not sure exactly which neighborhood you’d like to buy in. Or maybe you have the neighborhood part nailed down but are looking for the perfect property. An experienced agent like Serena Conti is plugged into the San Francisco peninsula and can guide you in finding the right property.
Is the housing market slowing down?
Anyone who is following real estate at all has noticed the dramatic swings in the market we have already discussed. Everything from home sales price changes to mortgage rate increases have buyers wondering, and Googling, whether the housing market is slowing down. Most real estate and mortgage experts agree that it is
. The National Association of Realtors
found that the median home sales price in September nationwide was $384,800. This is an 8.4% increase from a year ago but less than the record high of $413,800 in June 2022. In the San Francisco Bay Area, the median home sales price for October 2022 was $1.25 million
, a 0.5% decrease from the previous month and a 2% decrease from a year ago.
So what does this shift in the market mean? For buyers, this represents a good opportunity to get into a market that has shut many out in the last two or more years. Bidding wars have slowed, and sellers are having to negotiate more with buyers to sell their homes. And while the market has slowed, it is not crashing. Prior market crashes, such as the one in 2008, saw a 20-30% reduction
in home prices and home sales. In California and the Bay Area, there continues to be a housing shortage
. The basic laws of supply and demand dictate that while home prices may decrease in the short term, bringing the market more in balance than in recent years, the lack of supply in California will continue to drive home values up over the long run.
With the unprecedented changes in the economy as a whole and the real estate market, we understand why you might have a lot of questions. We hope this post helped to answer some of the most Googled real estate questions in 2022 and has shown that for many buyers, it’s still a great time to purchase a home. If you have more questions about today’s market or feel ready to find your next home, contact Serena Conti.