Real Estate Buying Guide

Across the Bay Area, home prices have continued to surge. As of October 2021, all nine counties had reported double-digit growth that pushed the median price of a single-family home to over $1.1 million.

While prices cooled down in November and December, with the median price in San Francisco declining more than 5 percent to just under $1.5 million, according to a report by NBC Bay Area, that figure was up 10 percent over the previous year. In San Jose, median home prices rose 23 percent.

The better news is that while prices will continue to rise, they won’t skyrocket as they have been, according to most forecasts. It will still be a strong seller’s market but slightly more balanced.

So what does that mean when it comes to buying Bay Area real estate in 2022? Buyers may have a few more choices with more inventory available, but it’s still going to be critical to be on your toes when house hunting. You’ll need to understand what’s necessary to get that offer accepted before someone else swoops in and takes it.

Think Outside the Box

If you want to find a decent home among the Oakland houses for sale or anywhere else in the Bay Area, you’re probably going to have to sacrifice some wants. Think outside of the box, considering homes that may not have the exact number of bedrooms you’d like to have, but has spaces that can be converted, such as a bonus room or office. If there’s extra acreage, maybe you can build an accessory dwelling unit.

Be willing to give up some “nice-to-haves” for your “must-haves,” going for the least expensive home in the best neighborhood you can afford, and then upgrade over time. While location is always an important factor, you might also have to be open to a more up-and-coming neighborhood with fewer competitors.

Be Prepared

Don’t be the type of buyer who looks for the home of their dreams and then furiously tries to hunt down financial documents in order to get a mortgage. Not only is it stressful, but you’re going to lose out to a buyer who is well-organized and already pre-approved for a home with the ability to submit a fully qualified offer.

Before you start searching, you should get preapproved for a mortgage. First, check your credit score to ensure it’s high enough for approval (generally at least 640 but ideally 700 or higher) and get all your documents in a row.

Consider contacting a bank you’re familiar with and asking about their community development loan program. Some have a small group of loan officers that can provide special incentives to homebuyers.

Be Informed and Find a Good Real Estate Agent

It’s important to be informed, getting as much information as you can through home buying seminars, webinars, and other sessions that can help you navigate the challenging process of purchasing a property in the Bay Area.

Start your search online so that you’ll have a good idea as to what’s available in the neighborhoods you’re considering and then ask friends, family, co-workers, and anyone else you trust for a referral to a good real estate agent.

Having a reputable, experienced realtor who is familiar with the current trends in the housing market is one of the best things you can do to find the right place and get your offer accepted.

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