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Think back to the days leading up to your wedding – the tension, the fear and then the relief when the final vows were spoken.
It turns out that the homebuying process is a lot like that for many people. In fact, 64 percent of those surveyed in a recent study by WSFS Mortgage said the prospect of buying a house causes more anxiety than getting married.
It’s understandable. Buying a home is one of the biggest investments you will ever make, and you must get everything just right. Once you decide to take the plunge, the worries start – from finding the right real estate agent so you can find the perfect house and make an offer to finding a lender who is responsive to your individual needs and can help you close the deal.
The good news for the local real estate market is that people aren’t letting the stress keep them from looking for a home. Fifty-six percent of people living in Delaware and the Greater Philadelphia region are interested in buying a home this summer or fall, according to the WSFS Mortgage Regional Study of 1,007 area residents.
But they also don’t want to go at it alone.
Potential homebuyers in the WSFS survey made it clear they want a team of people to help them through the process. Forty-nine percent of overall respondents prefer to work with a national or community bank versus any other type of lender, including online tech and financial services companies, with only 12 percent looking for online banks or online mortgage companies.
Additionally, 85 percent said they would want a dedicated professional to help them through the mortgage process. Seventy-six percent welcome online options for mundane tasks such as submitting tax forms, but they still want a person available to help them.
And counterintuitively for a generation that grew up online, younger people especially want a personal touch, with 71 percent of Gen Z’ers (ages 18-24) and 56 percent of Young Millennials (25-29) preferring to work with a lending professional when pre-qualifying for a mortgage. When it comes to shopping for a mortgage, 61 percent of Gen Z’ers and 56 percent of Young Millennials want to work with a dedicated person.
This is significant because those with the highest interest in buying a home right now are the youngest. Fifty-five percent of Gen Z’ers say they’re interested, while 48 percent of Young Millennials are in the purchase window.
Buying a home is not a one size fits all process. Buyers want the ability to complete their mortgage application online but at any point request help via email or call to speak with a person directly. The type of contact and the timing is dictated by the buyer’s needs and desires. Make sure your lender offers the hands-on guidance you may need.
Here’s something else to consider. Your homebuying team can also help you navigate an increasingly tight housing market.
The spring home-buying season was a washout due to the COVID-19 pandemic, so there’s plenty of pent-up demand, especially with interest rates at historical lows. More than a quarter of those surveyed said low interest rates are the key reason they’re looking to buy.
But the number of homes available in Philadelphia County was down by 8,719 units in June from the same month a year ago to 11,473, a 42 percent decrease, according to Long & Foster, the residential real estate company.
It’s a similar story in Delaware. Inventory was down by 2,218 units, or 40 percent, to 3,286.
In a market like this, you need a real estate agent who can pounce when homes come on the market and a lender who can clear every hurdle on the way to closing.
About the Author – Jeffrey M. Ruben
Jeff Ruben joined WSFS through its acquisition of Array Financial, a full-service mortgage banking organization, and Arrow Land Transfer in August 2013. Prior to forming Array and Arrow, Jeff served as Executive Vice President of American Business Financial Services, a publicly traded national mortgage lender.
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