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5 tips for buying a house in 2022

Reading Time — 7 minutes

By Opendoor Team

Reading Time — 7 minutes


Key Takeaways

  • Tip 1: Find the best agent you can

  • Tip 2: Find out your price range early

  • Tip 3: Tour and tour again

  • Tip 4: Rely on your agent to help you make a strong offer

  • Tip 5: Be prepared to take a break

Buying a house can bring up a whole range of emotions, especially after a year of uncertainty in real estate and everyday life. Over the past few years, many Americans have shifted to working remotely, which has caused a renewed focus on our new offices — er, our homes. Interest rates fell at first – and then they rose, demand for homes increased, supply dwindled, and many cities saw home prices increase as a result. 

Tip 1: Find the best agent you can

When it comes to buying a home, it helps to have an expert in your corner. In a market as competitive as this one, having an experienced agent can mean the difference between getting the home of your dreams or losing out on it.

Your agent’s job is to help you find the right home, represent you in the transaction, and advise you on the best strategy to make a winning offer.

So how do you find the right real estate agent?

It’s worth doing a little extra work up front to ensure that you’re partnering with an agent that’s right for you. Meet with potential agents, and keep an eye out for their track record, how they like to communicate, and what previous clients have to say about them. 

Here are two ways you might go about finding an agent:

Ask around

Arguably the best way to find a reputable, reliable agent is to ask around. Ask your family, friends, and neighbors to see if they have any recommendations. More likely than not, you probably know at least one person who has worked with a real estate agent they love. Ask them about their personal experience and if they think their agent would be a good fit for you.

Look online

You can use sites like National Association of Realtors (NAR) to search for reputable agents based on where you live. First-time buyers or homeowners can also search for specific agents or brokerages online to see if they have any public reviews or endorsements from previous clients.

When you work with Opendoor to buy a home you’ll have support from a top buying agent in your area to answer all your questions and guide you through the process.

Tip 2: Find out your price range early

Once you’re sure you’re ready to buy a home and you’ve found an agent, you’ll want to get a sense for what you can afford. This will help you narrow your search to find a home that’s both affordable and suited to your needs.

Speak with a lender to get pre-qualified. Unlike getting pre-approved, getting pre-qualified typically doesn’t affect your credit score. It’s simply a way for lenders to give you a rough idea of how much you’ll be able to borrow. Lenders will ask you questions about your income and credit history, and provide you with an estimated loan amount.

When should I get preapproved?

If you’re serious about buying, this is a great time to go a step further and get preapproved. Getting preapproved involves pulling together a number of documents and sending them to your lender. The lender will also pull your credit report. (Note that if you work with multiple lenders to get preapproved, this can count as only one hard pull to your credit, so it’s worth shopping around for the best rates. Depending on the scoring model used, you’ll have between 14 and 45 days to shop around.)

Once you’re preapproved for a home loan, the lender will provide a preapproval letter, which you can use to show sellers and real estate agents that you’re a serious buyer. Because the market is so competitive, this is an essential step in standing out from the competition.

Tip 3: Tour and tour again

Now that you have an agent and you know what you can afford, it’s time to tour homes. In this market, it’s crucial to temper your expectations and know that you may have to tour homes for weeks or months before you find the one. Visit homes that match your search, and tour them, keeping in mind things like... 

  • Home condition: Will you need to spend money to improve the safety, functionality, or appearance of the home?

  • Location: Does the location provide nearby access to amenities that are important to you (parks, gyms, coffee shops)? What’s the commute to work or school like?

  • Size and layout: Does the home have enough living area for your family? Or is it larger than you need? Does the layout make sense for your lifestyle?

  • Affordability: Will the monthly payment be something that you can reasonably afford to pay?

It’s a numbers game, so try to take many home tours. This will give you a broad range of options to compare, and help you understand whether any home is a good fit.

Because supply is limited in many cities across the US, set expectations that you may not find the perfect home right away. If you don’t find the perfect home in your first few tours, be persistent. The right home is out there.

Tip 4: Rely on your agent to help make a strong offer

Found the perfect home? That means it’s time to make an offer. This is where the guidance of an experienced real estate agent will really come in handy. Your agent will look at similar home sales in the area and pore over the information the seller provides about the home to help you put together a competitive offer. 

Because the market is competitive, you may have to sweeten the deal by offering more than the list price of the home. This is something to discuss this with your agent to determine an offer that’s both reasonable for your financial situation and competitive enough to win over the seller.

Looking for another way to get an edge over other buyers in a competitive market? You might want to look into cash-backed offers from Opendoor. We can help you make an offer that’s as good as cash so you stand out to the seller.

Tip 5: Be prepared to take a break

Sometimes the timing just isn’t right. In a market like this, it’s completely reasonable to take a break from your home search and pick it back up again later. If you’re repeatedly finding that you aren’t able to get an offer accepted, or you’re having trouble finding the right home in the first place, consider taking a break. Set a timeline for your break, whether it’s a couple of days, weeks, or even months, and give yourself permission to think about something other than your home search.

Buying a home is often the largest transaction we make in our lives. And while it can be frustrating to put your life on hold, sometimes the best we can do is take a break, recharge, and come back to the search with renewed energy later on.

Wrapping Up

The past few years have been filled with uncertainty, but that uncertainty doesn’t mean you have to put your life on hold. We hope these tips help you find and buy the perfect home. If you’d like to get even more of an edge in a competitive market, consider making a cash-backed offer with Opendoor.