What advice would you give to someone looking to buy an affordable home right now?

Perspectives | Real Estate + Construction

Perspectives Realestate Chuckstall

Chuck Stall
GNO Realty

One of the first things I do when I meet with clients is find out their motivations for making a move. For some, it’s proximity to work or family, while for others it is upgrades in size or amenities. If proximity is negotiable, I ask them to consider “driving till they qualify.” This means that they consider a less centralized location. If location is important to the buyer, they may want to consider looking into foreclosed homes or homes that are in a short -sale (where the home sells for less than the remaining balance of the mortgage).



Perspectives Realestate Kylesimmons

Kyle Simmons​​​​
Loan Officer
Eustis Mortgage

Three tips I always tell my clients are 1.) Get rid of credit card debt as much as possible. 2.) If you have student loans, set up an income-driven repayment plan. Most student loans are deferred currently; those loans need to be out of that status to close on a home. 3.) There are many programs available to help lower-income families. Having a local, veteran loan officer will help navigate the different loan types and get you set up with a loan program that best suits your individual needs. Online mortgage companies are hard to get in touch with, do not know the area/local programs, and typically cost more due to bait-and-switch tactics.



Perspectives Realestate Michaelverderosa


Michael Verderosa
Historic 504 Properties Team

It’s a tough time to be a buyer, between higher interest rates, and locally, ever-increasing insurance costs. As a result, it’s all the more important to be strategic in one’s home search. For those on a budget, I would suggest working with a respected local lender and shopping around for the most competitive interest rates and financing terms. To combat these obstacles, many local lenders have developed in-house mortgage options that offer rate buy-downs, a zero money down option, and/or they have removed PMI (mortgage insurance) from loan programs to make the note more affordable. In the New Orleans area, I also urge buyers to investigate the flood zone and flood insurance premium costs before they write an offer on a property; there’s no need to pay for home inspections or an appraisal only to find out after the fact that the cost of flood insurance will make that property unaffordable.



Perspectives Realestate Victoriagardner

Victoria Gardner
Nola Living Realty

My first piece of advice for anyone looking to buy a home in the near future would be to start with figuring out what they’d like their monthly note to be. The monthly note is super important to renters who are transitioning into becoming homeowners. The biggest difference between a rent payment and mortgage payment, besides the fact that you’ll actually own the residence, is that a mortgage payment escrows in taxes, insurance, HOA fees, etc.

Secondly, even before home or real estate agent shopping, future homebuyers should start with choosing a lender and seeing where their credit scores, debt-to-income ratio (DTI), and income is at. The best lenders will work with clients over time if they aren’t immediately in the spot to buy — that’s why it is important to also shop around for lenders.

Lastly, what I tell my first-time homebuyers that want to catch the best deal (who doesn’t?), is to scope out homes that have been on the market longer and not the homes that are a bit fresher. The longer the home sits, the more the seller is willing to negotiate, and that typically always leans in the buyers’ favor, thankfully!



Perspectives Realestate Karonreese

Karon Reese
Reese & Co. Real Estate

A good, responsive Realtor is crucial to the process of buying an affordable home. Your Realtor will know the market, so they will know where to search for homes in areas that are maybe overlooked but are good opportunities to build equity and realize a nice increase in value. They’ll also provide solid comps to help you determine the fair market value. Your Realtor will also know which loan programs will have grants that can help with the buyer’s down payment and closing costs. Realtors set their buyers up with good lenders, and this is a huge benefit. A good Realtor helps you through the inspection process, helping you navigate your way to negotiate for the items that most affect the value of your home.

Some people feel that they can navigate this on their own, and I can say unequivocally that they miss out on nuances of the transaction and the expertise of a professional. Referrals from friends are good ways to find a Realtor.