Navigate Low Housing Inventory With a Mortgage Loan Officer
William "Chip" Chitwood
Buying in a competitive market with low housing inventory doesn't have to bring an outsized sense of anxiety. These markets just require you to become more strategic in your approach to finding a home.
Working with a mortgage loan officer can help you feel more at ease about searching for a home and give you the confidence that comes with knowing your options before you ever set foot inside a listing.
By putting the mortgage at the front of the line in a low-inventory market, you may find that you're better equipped to compete with other home-hungry buyers. This process not only helps you expand your options but can also boost confidence in your buying power and financial health before signing on the dotted line.
Working through your finances
Meeting with a mortgage loan officer is the start of a relationship that can shape your entire homebuying experience. As you share your financial information, your loan officer will perform a temperature check on your finances. They'll give you expert insights on where your financial profile is strong or where it might need some work. Your loan officer will balance this picture with a clear understanding of your homeownership goals and their own knowledge of the local housing market and banking procedures.
Your mortgage loan officer can then make recommendations to help you get the most home at the best rate and with the strongest possible application. Areas of recommendation can include:
- Credit score. Loan officers can quickly identify potential ways to increase your credit score. This could mean saving thousands of dollars over the life of your loan.
- Employment. Whether you're self-employed or a W-2 employee, a loan officer can help identify ways to make your employment history stronger, such as waiting to shop for a home for a month or two to demonstrate longer employment history.
- Alternative home options. In markets with low housing inventory, loan officers can show buyers what it would look like to purchase land to build a home and mortgage products that can make that happen. They can also help you explore loan options for fixer-upper homes that combine a mortgage with a renovation loan, opening your options beyond in-demand turnkey properties.
- Payment confidence. A loan officer can help you strengthen your entire application to make sure you're getting the best rate on your mortgage payment, using the right mortgage product, and ultimately fitting your monthly payment both into your budget and homeownership goals.
These recommendations from a loan officer can uniquely equip buyers in tight markets with three key advantages:
- Knowledge. By going in with your eyes wide open, you can avoid finding your dream home and then not qualifying for the mortgage you need to close the deal.
- Options. From exploring different types of mortgage products to learning what other buyers are doing—like building or moving to an adjacent neighborhood—you won't feel limited to the homes you see online.
- Confidence. In a tight market, there's nothing better than knowing that you'll be able to close the deal on any offer you make when other less strategic buyers might fall through. While there could be road bumps in the closing process, a mortgage loan officer can use their expertise to help smooth the ride.
Ready to rethink?
In a tight housing market, you want to use every tool at your disposal. By starting your homebuying journey with a mortgage loan officer before you begin touring homes, you're gaining a partner whose sole mission is to help you present yourself well to any lender.
By reviewing your finances and making recommendations to improve your application, they're helping you increase the odds of getting approved for the mortgage you want. A financial consultation can also lead to putting a plan in place to improve your overall financial strength, which can save buyers money at the closing table and in their monthly payments.
This one strategic shift in competitive markets—putting your mortgage first in the homebuying process—can help you adapt from curious consumer to confident buyer.
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