What to Do If Finding a Home is Taking Longer Than Expected: Maintaining Healthy Finances

What to Do If Finding a Home is Taking Longer Than Expected: Maintaining Healthy Finances

Finding a home is an exciting and important milestone in life, but sometimes the process can take longer than anticipated. As of March 2023, homes spent an average 54 days on the market. This is up from a low of 30 days set in May 2022, but down from a recent high of 74 days in Jan. 2023. However, in some markets, the process can be even longer.

Additional Data

  • The average time it takes to find and close on a home in the United States has increased by 10 days over the past 10 years.
  • Buyers typically searched for 10 weeks and looked at a median of five homes and viewed four homes only online. The number of weeks searching for a home grew from eight weeks according to 2020 and 2021 reports.
  • Currently there are 1.14 million homes for sale. Historically, the U.S. has had an inventory between 2 million and 2.5 million. During the height of the housing market, there were about 4 million homes for sale.

If you are finding that the home buying process is taking longer than expected, it is important to stay proactive and focused on maintaining healthy finances. Here are six tips:

1. Revisit Your Budget

During an extended home search, it is important to revisit and reassess your budget regularly. Analyze your income, expenses, and savings to ensure you are staying on track. Consider adjusting your budget to accommodate any changes in your circumstances, such as increased rental costs or unexpected expenses that may arise during the search. By keeping a close eye on your finances, you can make informed decisions and avoid unnecessary financial strain.

2. Stay Flexible and Open-Minded

One of the keys to managing the frustrations of a prolonged home search is to remain flexible and open-minded. The real estate market can be unpredictable, and the perfect home might not be available right away. Consider expanding your search parameters or exploring different neighborhoods or property types. By broadening your horizons, you increase your chances of finding a suitable home sooner rather than later.

3. Continue Saving

While searching for a home, it is crucial to continue saving money. Saving serves multiple purposes during this time: it helps you maintain a healthy financial cushion, provides funds for a down payment, and covers unexpected expenses that may arise during the home buying process. By consistently setting aside a portion of your income, you’ll be better prepared for any financial challenges that come your way.

4. Improve Your Credit Score

A good credit score is essential when applying for a mortgage. Take advantage of the extended home search period to focus on improving your credit score. Pay your bills on time, reduce outstanding debts, and minimize new credit applications. A higher credit score not only increases your chances of securing a mortgage but also improves your negotiating power with lenders.

5. Consider Temporary Housing Options

If the search for your dream home is taking longer than expected, consider exploring temporary housing options. Renting an apartment or staying with family or friends for a short period can help alleviate the stress of an extended search. Temporary housing allows you to regroup, save money, and continue your search without feeling rushed or pressured into making a hasty decision.

6. Seek Professional Advice

During a prolonged home search, it is beneficial to seek advice from real estate professionals. Consult with real estate agents or financial advisors who can provide insights into the market, offer guidance on the home buying process, and help you make informed decisions. Their expertise can be invaluable in navigating the challenges of a lengthier search and ensuring you remain on the right financial path.

Stay Patient and Persistent

Although finding a home may take longer than expected, it is crucial to stay proactive and focused on maintaining healthy finances. Revisit your budget, stay flexible and open-minded, and continue saving money. Prioritize improving your credit score and explore temporary housing options if necessary.

By following these steps and seeking professional advice, you can navigate the challenges of a prolonged home search while ensuring your financial well-being. Remember, patience and perseverance will ultimately lead you to the home of your dreams.

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