Mar 23, 2024 - News

Buying the American dream

Illustration of a welcome mat that is a one-hundred dollar bill.

Illustration: Maura Losch/Axios

Texas home sales are picking up, largely driven by buyers who waited out last year's sky-high mortgage rates, according to Jef Conn, chairman of Texas Realtors.

Why it matters: You can't control housing prices and inventory, but you can strengthen your finances to strike when the time is right, Axios' Brianna Crane writes.

What they're saying: "While rising inventory will offer buyers more options, median price is expected to remain relatively flat across the state," Conn tells Axios.

State of play: People are generally holding on to homeownership as the American dream, but it might feel far from reality, depending on where you live.

  • In Texas, where real estate is more affordable compared to incomes, people in their late 20s and early 30s are hunting for their first home.
  • But for those in higher-cost areas, it's not even on their radar, according to finance writer Katie Gatti (Money with Katie).

The big picture: Wannabe buyers fall into two camps, according to Katy Song, chief financial planner of Domain Money. There are people who are over-prepared, and people who think they can afford more than they realistically can, Song tells Axios.

Here are her tactical tips for first-time home buyers to prepare wisely for taking the plunge.

💳 Look at your credit. If you don't have credit or it's not in good shape, it's not time to buy, she says. Your credit score determines how willing lenders are to give you money.

  • If you're starting from scratch, Song recommends getting a secured credit card. To start building your score, put a recurring payment like Netflix on the card, and automatically pay it off every month.
  • If you have credit card debt, devise an aggressive plan to pay it off.
  • You don't need to pay off your student loan debt or even car loans before applying for a mortgage.

More expert tactics

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