Though often one of the most rewarding purchases you can make, buying a home isn’t easy – whether it’s navigating mundane legalities, holding your breath through inspections, or trying to convince a seller that you’re the right person to purchase that home. But more than half of homeowners say the hardest part of buying a home starts before any of those annoyances, according to the 2022 Home Buyers and Sellers Generational Trends Report from the National Association of Realtors Research Group. Indeed, 56% of all buyers said finding the right property was the hardest part of buying a home.
That it’s hard to find the right property to buy is especially true right now, as inventory remains tight, supply chains are still facing disruptions and prices on raw materials like lumber and metals remain high. (The good news? According to data from the U.S. Census Bureau and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development from March 2022, nearly 1.8 million single-family housing starts were in progress as new residential construction projects, a 6.8% increase from the month prior and a 22% increase from the same time last year.)
Meanwhile, 18% found the paperwork involved to be the most cumbersome, 15% said that understanding the process and steps of a home purchase was hardest and 13% admitted that saving for the down payment proved the most difficult part of the journey. Just 18% of all buyers said they didn’t feel that any of the necessary steps were difficult.
What was the hardest part of buying a home for you?
|Most difficult step of buying a home
|Percent of respondents
|Finding the right property
|Understanding the process and steps
|Saving for the down payment
|Inability to move forward in process due to COVID-19
|Getting a mortgage
|Appraisal of property
|No difficult steps
*Source: National Association of Realtors
If you’re wondering how to find the right property for you, the first thing you’ll want to do to navigate the home buying process with efficiency is to get pre-approved for a mortgage before you begin your search. This will help you understand exactly what you can spend, and thus narrow your search.
Then, you may want to seek out a broker who can hold your hand through the home buying process. “Working with an experienced agent can help a home buyer, especially one buying their first home, expertly navigate the process. The housing market today is competitive and fast-moving. Agents can advise on trends, help a buyer understand the risk of things like waiving contingencies and may have creative strategies to help a buyer win a bidding war,” says Nicole Bachaud, an economist at Zillow. Indeed, using your budget and other constraints, a broker can funnel listings your way and chaperone your visits to open houses, as well as guide you on best practices and making competitive offers based on local comps.
Throughout the process, experts recommend thinking long-term and factoring priorities like location, size and quality of the home into your decision. It’s also important to take into account the results of various home inspections and to make sure you’re not buying a home that needs work or repairs beyond your means.