Roadblocks to the American Dream

What’s Stopping Home Buyers?

A Look at the Most Common Challenges Home Buyers Face & How to Overcome Them

It’s no secret that we’re in a “Seller’s Market” right now in Southern California, meaning that the inventory of homes for sale doesn’t meet the current demand. As a result, some home buyers are finding this a difficult time to buy a home. Interest rates are low, which makes this a very desirable time to purchase property, yet sometimes there are road blocks to success.

The California Association of Realtors recently surveyed prospective home buyers and found that the most common obstacles potential homeowners are facing are:

  • Saving for a down payment
  • Lack of inventory
  • Access to credit and financing
  • Personal debt

There were some differences across race and ethnicity.

It is possible to overcome these challenges, but it can take persistence, planning, patience, and professional guidance.

Down Payment

Some home buyers believe that you need 20% down in order to purchase a home, but there are many other loan options that allow one to take advantage of today’s interest rates with a much smaller initial investment. FHA loans are available with as little as 3.5% down and for veterans, VA loans may be an option with no money down. Some cities offer down payment assistance programs and buyer may have the option of tapping into 401K or other retirement accounts for a home purchase.

Lack of Inventory

Inventory in many neighborhoods is still critically low, but in some areas it has started picking up. If you’re working with an experienced, local Realtor who has connections with other local Realtors, you may be able to find out about new listings before they hit the market. They will also be in a position to help you determine whether slightly changing your criteria or considering other similiar neighborhoods would increase your choices.

Access to Credit and Financing

Some potential home buyers think that you must have perfect credit in order to buy a home. That’s not necessarily true. FHA loans, for example, have more flexible credit guidelines that allow buyers to get into a home without perfect credit. If you’re considering buying a home within the next year, now is the time to have a lender run your credit and help you assess your overall financial picture to determine what you can do in order to best qualify for a mortgage when you’re ready to move forward. Getting a mortgage may be easier than you think. 

Personal Debt

Whether it’s student loans, credit cards, or car loans, debt can feel overwhelming and home buyers sometimes feel that they want to pay everything off before buying a home. Yet sometimes paying off one line rather than all credit lines, or paying one or more debts down substantially can be enough to ease the burden and allow you to comfortably qualify for a home purchase. Talking to a lender who can help you assess your overall financial picture is a good first step to determine how best to move toward the goal of buying a home.

If you’re considering buying a home, give us a call at 562.896.2456 and we’d be happy to walk you through the process and help you find your dream home. 

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About the Author
Shannon Jones has been selling real estate since 1998 and specializes in listing and marketing homes. She has consistently been one of the top Realtors in the Long Beach area. Prior to her award-winning career in real estate with the Shannon Jones Team, Shannon has had successful careers in journalism and public relations. She holds a bachelor's degree from UC Irvine and a master's degree from UC Berkeley. Shannon holds E-Pro, CDPE (Certified Distressed Property Expert), and PSC (Pre-Foreclosure Specialist) certifications. Shannon is very personable and maintains a very strong moral compass, always putting the best interest of home buyers/sellers above monetary goals. A California native, Shannon enjoys gardening, travel, reading, cooking and poker when she’s not selling homes.

Lic# 01247705 | CDPE (Certified Distressed Property Expert) | E-Pro | PSC (Pre-Foreclosure Specialist)

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