Buying and selling
The Tulsa real estate market is a seller’s dream, and it has never been easier to buy.
If you’re considering selling your home in 2016, it could be your year. Real estate and mortgage experts predict that high demand for homes will make this the “Year of the Seller” in Tulsa.
Sellers could see multiple offers due to lower inventory, says David Momper, a Realtor at Coldwell Banker Select and the Oklahoma Association of Realtors’ 2015 Realtor of the Year.
“We’re pretty enthusiastic about the year,” Momper says. “The words we’re saying a lot are ‘stable growth.’ It’s not going to be barn-burner great, but I think it’s going to be a good year.
“It’s a seller’s market, and some buyers are frustrated with the lack of choices, so we’re seeing multiple offers. Anyone thinking about selling a home should look at (discussing it with a Realtor).”
Tulsa’s economy is in “fairly good shape,” but some Realtors are concerned about the impact of the energy industry due to rock-bottom oil and gas prices, Momper says.
“Some are scared the jobs will start falling off,” he says. “But on the flip side, cheap oil is creating stronger purchasing power for a lot of people, and a lot of businesses are more profitable because they’re not paying those high energy prices.”
Mortgage rates have been on the lower end for years, below 4 percent, says Julie Griffith, senior vice president and regional manager for BOK Mortgage. But they creeped up past 4 percent at the end of 2015 and will probably stay between 3.75 percent and 4.25 during 2016, according to Griffith.
As of Feb. 4, the average rates reported by Freddie Mac, or the Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corp., were 3.72 percent for a 30-year fixed rate mortgage and 3.01 percent for a 15-year mortgage.
“It’s typically a 10-year cycle on average of how rates go up and come back down,” Griffith says. “So, it takes time and it’s a gradual process. Mortgage rates are predicted to go up in the next 12 months to two years. It’s the hardest thing to predict. But if you’re interested, you’ll definitely want to buy sooner versus later to take advantage of lower rates.”
The good news is that getting a home mortgage isn’t too difficult, provided the buyer is qualified and knowledgeable. And first-time buyers have expanded options in recent years, thanks to programs designed to assist them.
Those include programs through the Oklahoma Housing Finance Agency and the City of Tulsa Housing Authority.
“Mortgages aren’t terribly difficult to get, but know that as a buyer you may have less negotiating ability in a seller’s market,” Griffith says.
It’s also a better environment for buyers of second homes or vacation properties, Griffith says, because credit score requirements have loosened a bit. Now, less money down is required and buyers can use income from rental properties to qualify for a loan rather than using their primary cash flow.
No matter your specific situation, being prepared is the key to getting your dream home, according to Momper.
“Arrange your credit and be pre-approved and pre-financed, so that when you do see a home you want, you can act quickly,” he says. “You’re going to be very disappointed if you find a home you like but lose out because you’re not ready to act.”
And even though it’s a seller’s market, Momper says buyers are “smarter than ever before.”
“Sellers need to understand that buyers aren’t going to overpay, even though it’s a seller’s market,” he says. “Buyers are very educated because of technology and they know value.
“A seller has to have the property in excellent, marketable condition and have the right price.”
For more information about buying a home, contact the Oklahoma Homebuyer Education Association or visit www.homebuyereducation.info/homebuyers.htm.