Is it even possible to find a bargain in today’s real estate market?

A person putting up a House for Sale sign in the front yard of their property.

Image Source: Getty Images

Technically, yes. But don’t count on it.

Key points

  • Low inventory and sky-high home prices make today a bad time to buy.
  • Rising mortgage rates only add to that pain.

There’s a reason so many homebuyers have been frustrated with the real estate market lately. House prices are through the roof and there is no sign of them going down.

In March, home prices rose 20.6% nationally, according to the S&P CoreLogic Case-Shiller home price index. That is the most recent month of data the index has made available. And it also explains the rise in mortgage rates, which were already up substantially in March compared to where they were in early 2022.

All in all, if you try to buy a house today, there’s a good chance you’ll end up overpaying for one. In fact, these days, it’s really, Really It’s hard to find a bargain when it comes to buying a home. This isn’t to say that it can’t be done at all, but the stars really do need to align for that to happen.

Why you’re unlikely to find a bargain today

Today’s real estate market lacks inventory. This does not only apply in select cities. Rather, it is a problem that exists throughout the country.

Because there aren’t enough homes to meet buyer demand, sellers really have a lot of wiggle room when it comes to charging more for their homes. Also, when houses come on the market, they tend to have multiple offers, which commonly drives their price up. And until the inventory increases significantly, it will be very difficult to get a good deal on a house.

To compound the problem, it’s getting more expensive to take out a mortgage. So if you buy a house today, not only could you pay more for that property, but you could also spend more to borrow.

How to reach an agreement

While today’s homes are generally overpriced, that doesn’t mean you can’t find a single bargain. But you may need to partner with a great real estate agent to help you find one.

However, keep in mind that if you come across a home that appears to be underpriced, there may be a reason for it. Chances are the house in question has some kind of problem that is costly to fix, so no matter what you do, don’t try to buy a house today without completing a home inspection. Some buyers are forgoing those inspections to get their offers accepted, but that could end up being an expensive decision.

In the meantime, you might be able to get a great deal if you run into a desperate seller who needs to move ASAP, and you can make an all-cash offer on a house. It may be that a certain seller has to move for a job, for example, and needs to close their sale within a few weeks. If you have enough money to make a cash offer, you could get that house at a relative discount.

But for the most part, don’t go house hunting expecting to find bargains. You’ll be lucky if you can only manage to moderately overpay for a home given the prices sellers have been demanding lately.

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