‘Don’t be discouraged’ - What you need to know if you’re looking to buy a home this year

Published: Jan. 18, 2023 at 4:23 PM CST
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CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (KCRG) - Buying a home can feel intimidating, especially for first-time homeowners and after the wild market we saw last year, but people looking to buy a home in 2023 likely won’t have to deal with low inventory and rising prices like in 2022.

Demand was so high that homes were selling within hours.

”People weren’t making great decisions,” said Robert Stiles with Revolution Reality.

Matt Ford with Skogman Reality said those frustrated by last year’s housing frenzy might want to try again this year, even with interest rates higher.

”As people have written offer after offer after offer and lost every single time, there’s less of that, so don’t be discouraged. You may not get your first one. But just keep in mind that with the market kind of stabilizing, you won’t be as likely to overpay or pay more than asking for a house, and hopefully, you won’t lose as many offers,” said Ford.

And those who qualify, some communities offer help with down payment costs for first-time home buyers. Iowa City offers up to $15,000, and a Cedar Rapids program will open to applicants later this year.

”In Cedar Rapids in March, there’s going to be another round of the first-time home buyer grants to the city. So, I think for first-time home buyers, it’s still a great time to get in and leverage some of that grant money for your down payment,” said Robert Stiles.

On the flip side... when it comes to building a new home, Jim Sattler with Jim Sattler Custom homes said supply chains are easing back to normal.

Appliances that were taking months to get in are now back to just a few weeks. And the cost of materials and labor has gone down as well.

”Lumber for the cost of material lumber is now half the price it was at its peak in 2022. So I checked with our lumber dealers, probably down 65% from the peak of 2022. So less than half the cost. That definitely affects the price of a new house,” said Sattler.

But when it comes down to it, Ford said if you’re serious about buying a home this year... first talk to a lender... see what you can afford. Then get in touch with a real estate professional.

”Having that professional by your side that you know and trust can really make the process a whole lot easier,” said Ford.