“There’s no place like home for the holidays.” You’ve heard the nostalgic lyrics, and maybe you dreamed of hosting family, friends and loved ones in a new house this year.
But some embarking on the homebuying process in the last couple of years have felt frustration and have put a temporary or long-term pause on their homebuying plans.
Our SVP and Director of Residential Lending Bob Driscoll and our Financial Education Officer Julie Beckham chatted about some of the challenges that hopeful buyers face and how to keep an optimistic, yet realistic, mindset about the process.
First-time buyers are finding the current market challenging
Have you heard people talking about the hot housing market lately?
While the current market is cooling slightly from the very hot place it has been, many homes are listed at high price points and sellers are reluctant to drop prices until they get a clear sign from the market about their home’s value. This has led to buyers feeling fatigued and dejected, especially if they have been putting in offers over the asking price but are still getting beat out.
Because a strong homebuying market includes a healthy percentage of first-time buyers, Bob is optimistic that the market will eventually adjust to allow more participation from all types of buyers.
“I don’t advise buying a house solely because you can afford it — I advise that you buy a home that you want to live in,” says Bob. This distinction can only be made by you (with your partner or family). Not every house will become a home to everyone — something that you may need, like a yard for your dog, could be a want for someone else.
If you love to host large gatherings, don’t let the frustrating market bully you into settling for a home without the space needed to accommodate those parties that mean so much to you. He cautions that any buyers feeling let down by the market should keep their long-term plan in mind when deciding to buy a house.
The “social clock” can take a toll on mental health
People talk a lot about their biological clocks, but did you know that you also are likely unconsciously influenced by a social clock too?
The social clock refers to the pressure to abide by timelines set by others for reaching milestones, such as getting married, having a baby or buying a home. There is a persistent notion that big milestones are expected by certain ages or times, and these pressures are amplified by our social circles and social media. This makes it nearly impossible not to compare your timeline to that of others.
Julie encourages hopeful buyers to pause and reflect on the process. Are you feeling rushed to buy because of an arbitrary “one-size-fits-all” timeline?
If you find that your social clock is causing you extra stress and pressure, Julie suggests considering an adjusted timeframe for steps like buying a home. You may also face social pressure as a first-time buyer based on the experiences of those in your family who bought under different circumstances. Julie emphasizes how important it is to focus on your unique situation and worry less about what others are doing, or what they did 30 years ago.
While this is easier said than done, she cautions that fear and pressure can lead to irrational behavior, like buying a home outside of your price range or that you maybe don’t even like.
Aspiring homebuyers are making adjustments
Due to high home prices and student loan debt, some people cohabitate and rent for longer to push back their timeline for buying a home. Moving back home after college or renting with roommates are popular options. Bob pointed out that many recent buyers have opted for multi-family homes rather than single-family homes. Don’t be afraid to get creative in finding a place to live that tracks not only with your bigger financial pictures and goals, but that also feels like home to you and that you enjoy.
If you’re feeling blue this holiday season because you can’t deck the halls of your dream home quite yet, know that you’re not alone, nor are you behind. Need help figuring out the best timeline or options that are available to you? Turn to our experienced mortgage team for advice on your personal homebuying timeline.
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