I can’t say if now is the right time for you to buy a home or not, but I do know this: if you wait for the “perfect” time to buy, you’ll never buy a home. Similarly, if you’re holding out for the “perfect home,” you’re more likely to miss out on homeownership than to find perfection.
The truth is, there’s no such thing as the perfect home or the perfect time to buy.
When it comes to the “perfect time” to buy, all kinds of factors could always be less imperfect than they are at any given moment. True, the real estate market will eventually flip from the sellers’ advantage, as it is now, to the buyers’ advantage. Inventory could improve, offering a greater quality and/or quantity of homes available for sale. But those changes can take years, and there’s a consequence of waiting. As of this writing, median existing home prices have climbed for 91 consecutive months.
Your earnings and/or credit score might improve. You could be more stable in your employment and/or save more down payment funds. But isn’t that always the case?
Home prices might eventually come back down. Heck, mortgage rates might dip even lower than their current (very good) benchmark of 3.75 percent (30 year fixed-rate, according to Bankrate.com). Or, they could go back up while you’re waiting for perfect (from 2011 back to 1971, the rate was always higher than 5.05 percent, with a high in 1981 of 18.63 percent)!
The truth is that there are so many variables beyond our control that there may be no such thing as the “perfect” time to buy a home. If you wait for the elusive “perfect time,” you may just miss out altogether. So no, it’s not a “perfect” time to buy a home. But that shouldn’t deter you if you’re ready, because there’s no such thing as a perfect time to buy. Sometimes you just gotta go for it.
Now let’s talk briefly about the “perfect home.”
There isn’t one. Homes are like people. None are perfect.
The reality is that even a newly-built home can feature a layout you’re not crazy about. Or the brand-new flooring or countertops won’t be the material or aesthetic you would have picked. Older homes may require painting and maintenance… and feature flooring or countertops that don’t have the material or aesthetic you would have picked. I’ve even worked with clients who had homes custom built to their specifications… only to find out that the end product wasn’t exactly what they had envisioned.
So no, there’s no such thing as a perfect home any more than there is a perfect time to buy. But that’s okay because homes are also like people in that we learn to love them in spite of (sometimes because of) their quirky imperfections.
A sage business adage says: “Don’t let the perfect be the enemy of the good.” Similarly, Confucius said: "Better a diamond with a flaw than a pebble without."
In other words, when it comes to buying a home, don’t let the “perfect” time be the enemy of this great (interest rate) time to buy. Don’t let rents and home prices rise further while you hold out for the “perfect” house, when you can could be living in one you’re happy in and love and adore, warts and all.
I’m not arguing for buyers to settle, but I am arguing for them to be realistic and practical. I’m making the case that while there’s no such thing as a perfect home, there’s one out there that’s just perfect for you.
If you’re suffering from “perfection paralysis” I’ve got good news. There’s a cure.
Get out in the real world and see as many homes as you can. Go to open houses. Establish buyer representation with a good Realtor® and go on showings. Comparison shopping will really put things in context. The more properties you see, the more you’ll learn about homes and the realities of the Lakes Region real estate market, and the more you’ll learn about your own better-informed wants and needs. Armed with that education, you’ll know the home that’s “perfect” for you when you see it.