Guide to Adulting: the Housing Market


Gracie Warda, Online Editor in Chief

We hear these terms all the time: buyer’s market, seller’s market, mortgage, and lease, but what do any of them mean? What does a first-time home buyer (or renter) need know about the ever-complicated housing market? Local Realtor Todd Warda, with the John Wentworth Real Estate group, has the answers.

“Renting and leasing is basically the same thing,” Warda said. “It’s very competitive, just like the real estate market.The people who are leasing are typically college students or other people who aren’t sure exactly where they want to be yet.”

Many people who are brand-new to the world of real estate will often choose to rent (or lease) an apartment, house, or condo, according to City Lab. Renting a home allows the occupant flexibility with their location, should they choose to move somewhere else in the near future.

Warda recommends renting instead of buying in a “seller’s market”— a market where there are more buyers than sellers, causing the seller to charge more and sell quicker— and buy in a “buyer’s market,” which is a market where there are more sellers than buyers. When buying a home, consider the many different types of mortgages.

“There’s a wide variety of mortgages available,” Warda said. “Your traditional or conventional loan has a high credit score of 680 or above. This conventional loan expects you to have 20 percent of the down payment saved, and you’re ready to buy that home. There’s also loans out there, like a veterans loan, where you have zero down-payment. There’s a wide variety of different loans depending on your credit score and depending on your down payment. There’s usually a 15 and 30 year mortgage.”

Aside from the cost of the actual house, homeowners and home-renters should account for the costs of utilities, which aren’t usually included in the price.

“Some advice I would give is don’t hold a lot of credit card debt. I would save as much as you can—at least 20 percent of your down payment— so that you can be a strong buyer,” Warda said. “You should also interview 3 real-estate agents before you decide on one. A lot of people don’t realize that we need to be hired just like everyone else; it’s all about relationships.”

Be sure to talk with local real estate agents and mortgage officers before buying or renting in a particular area.