Home buying in a competitive market

Published: May. 9, 2022 at 11:24 AM CDT
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The rise in home prices and mortgage rates along with the low housing supply has pushed the American dream out of reach for a growing number of people. To help you navigate home buying, Navigator Credit Union has tips to increase your buying power in today’s competitive market.

Build your credit score It is important to begin preparing financially to buy a home as far in advance as possible. Start with building or improving your credit score. A higher credit score can help you qualify for a lower mortgage rate. You can see relatively fast improvements to your credit score by paying down balances on loans and credit cards.

For a limited time, Navigator is offering a 1.99% Annual Percentage Rate (APR) for six months on balance transfers plus no balance transfer fees. Transferring balances from high-interest credit cards to a lower-interest card means more of your payment goes towards the principal. Learn more about this offer at

Another way to improve your credit score even if you don’t qualify for a low-interest credit card is to use a pre-paid credit card which reports payment activity to credit bureaus. Navigator’s Share Secured Visa® offers a low 12.9% APR and even lets you earn points for special benefits. Details can be found at

Save money Start saving money for a down payment, closing costs and any unexpected repairs and maintenance. One option is to set up regular automatic transfers from your checking account into a savings account. If you get an unexpected windfall such as a gift, lottery winnings or work bonus, deposit it into your home buying fund instead of spending it right away.

Now is also a good time to start looking into first-time homebuyer programs. These programs can provide thousands of dollars to put towards your down payment or closing costs if you qualify.

Be flexible Given that specific areas or types of homes will have more demand, you may want to be more flexible with where you live or what you buy. A condo or townhouse a bit further away from where you originally planned on moving could be more affordable than a single-family home. You may not find your dream home today, but a home that works for you right now can be a stepping stone to another home down the road.

Ready to buy a home now? If you’re ready to buy now, you may feel you need to act quickly when homes are selling fast. Here is some advice on navigating a tight housing market.

· Work with an experienced real estate agent. Save time and stress by working with a Realtor® who knows how to compete in a fast-paced market.

· Get preapproved for a mortgage. Having an approval letter puts you in a strong position to make an offer on a home.

· Make a strong offer. A lowball offer isn’t likely to win the home you want in a competitive market.

· Keep it simple. Sellers may be more likely to accept a “clean” offer that doesn’t have contingency clauses or demands to make changes to the home.

· Prepare for a bidding war. Decide on your maximum bid ahead of time so you don’t get carried away in a bidding war.

· Put up more earnest money. Increasing the amount of earnest money shows you’re serious about the deal (and you get it back if your offer is not accepted).

· Be ready to compromise. Flexibility with move-in dates and other details could make a seller more willing to accept your offer.

Buying a home is one of the biggest purchases you’ll ever make. With the right preparations and an experienced mortgage team, you’ll be well equipped for each step of the journey ahead.

About Navigator Credit Union Navigator Credit Union has been serving local homebuyers for more than 83 years. Navigator makes buying a breeze with flexible mortgage options with great rates; step-by-step guidance from a friendly team; free online applications; fast local decisions and local account servicing. And, as a not-for-profit credit union, Navigator is here to serve Members, not Wall Street. That means Navigator can provide a full range of quality financing and banking products, but with better rates, fewer fees and the flexibility you won’t find at most other institutions. For more information, visit


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