More renters are looking to become homeowners in 2015, but it won’t be without some challenges.
The Zillow Housing Confidence Index has indicated that Atlanta’s renters are more confident about the housing market, and some 130,000 plan to buy a home this year. That’s all well and good, but here are some challenges:
Lack of Inventory
If those renters are looking at Midtown or Buckhead for condominiums, they best be prepared to pounce when they find one they like, and have their pre-approval with a lender in place. Limited inventory and almost no new construction on the horizon will make prices continue to rise, and the possibility of multiple bids a continued reality. All those cranes you see over the skyline are not building “For Sale” buildings, but an abundance (and maybe a bit to much) of rental apartments. So when that priced-right condo hits the market, don’t expect it to sit around for long. An inventory example in Midtown…Cornerstone Village has 310 homes, and there are currently only TWO homes listed For Sale.
Saving For A Down Payment
You have to have some “skin in the game” when it comes to getting a mortgage. That means you need to have money for a down payment. Depending on your credit and other circumstances, this does not mean you may need 10 or 20 percent down. You might qualify for other programs that will offer less money down. And you can work with parents or other family members for a potential gift towards your down payment.
Qualifying for a Mortgage
Well, yes….gone are the days of “fog a mirror, get a loan.” You need to qualify for that mortgage. If you have good credit, a job and don’t have oodles of credit card debt or a big car loan, you should be able to qualify for a mortgage. How much, is another story. (You can find our list of preferred lenders here.)
Finding an affordable home or condo
That might be the biggest challenge of all. Prices have certainly rebounded from years past. Another example in looking at Cornerstone Village. A 1-bedroom condo that sold for $78,900 in December, 2013 is now on the market at $137,000! One bedroom homes at Spire Midtown were selling in the $140-170,000 range and are now topping over $200,000 for the same homes!
But according to Zillow, Atlanta’s Housing Confidence Index hit 66.5, up some 4 percent from January, 2014. Renter confidence also climbed 4.6 percent for the same period.
Those that continue to “sit on the fence” will find that jump off more expensive!