The top 10 things you need to know when buying a home.

 

1. Don’t buy if you can’t stay put. If you can’t commit to remaining in one place for at least a few years, then owning is probably not for you, at least not yet. With the transaction costs of buying and selling a home, you may end up losing money if you sell any sooner – even in a rising market. When prices are falling, it’s an even worse proposition.

2. Start by shoring up your credit. Since you most likely will need to get a mortgage to buy a house, you must make sure your credit history is as clean as possible. A few months before you start house hunting, get copies of your credit report. Make sure the facts are correct, and fix any problems you discover.

Read more: The top 10 things you need to know when buying a home.

Low Mortgage Rates Are Going, Going, Gone—Here’s What to Do

Interest rates on 30-year conforming mortgages have moved up by more than 50 basis points (A single basis point is 0.01%.)  That means that within just a few weeks, mortgage rates have moved to levels we haven’t seen in more than two years.

So what does that rate shift mean? Well, it indicates an economy with very low inflation moving to one with more significant inflationary pressures.Long-term bonds and mortgages are less attractive to investors when inflation is higher, leading to lower prices for bonds and therefore higher interest rates.

In real terms, the movement in rates so far has increased mortgage payments by 7%. On a median-price home, that shift amounts to more than $750 in additional interest per year. Make no mistake: That is bad news for future buyers.This week, the average 30-year mortgage had a rate of 4.27%. Over the past five years of the housing recovery, rates have failed to stay above 4%. But things look different this time around. Rates are more likely to go up from here rather than down. And that means that now more than ever, potential buyers need to be working hard to secure the best rate possible on their own mortgage.

We are already seeing evidence that consumers have been able to mitigate some of the increase in lenders’ advertised rates. Looking at a large sample of 30-year confirming mortgages locked on the Optimal Blue lending platform from Nov. 9 through Dec. 2, the average change on actual 30-year mortgages was 43 basis points.

Read more: Low Mortgage Rates Are Going, Going, Gone—Here’s What to Do

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