10 Most Googled Questions About Real Estate in 2023

10 Most Googled Questions About Real Estate in 2023

As the shock of high mortgage rates and inflation wears off into 2023, buyers and sellers are left with questions about why the real estate industry reacted the way it did and what will happen next. Those searching in highly desirable areas like Miami can expect continued demand for the oceanfront properties in South Pointe Park, the Art Deco architecture of Ocean Drive, and much more. Here are the answers to some of the most googled real estate questions in 2023.

1. Should I buy or rent?

With high mortgage rates biting into a buyer’s purchasing power, the choice to buy or rent is one of the most googled real estate questions in 2023. First, an individual should decide if they’re able to manage a monthly mortgage payment, pay closing costs, and maintain general upkeep of the property. If this seems feasible, they should then consider factors that would make homeownership difficult, like frequent travel for work.

2. How much home can I afford?

There are a few things that impact a buyer’s bottom line. Monthly income restricts the type and amount of mortgage a buyer qualifies for. Meanwhile, cash reserves are necessary for closing costs, down payments, and emergency funds. A person’s credit score also impacts their ability to qualify for a mortgage, as well as other factors, such as debt-to-income ratios. When starting a home search, you should follow the 28/36 rule, which states that buyers should avoid spending over 28% of their income on home costs and over 36% on debts.

3. Do I need to put 20% down?

Although many buyers may think they need to put down 20% to buy a home, there’s plenty of flexibility when it comes to different lenders and loan types. Buyers who are able to put 20% down avoid extra costs related to private mortgage insurance and benefit from additional home equity. However, buyers with a good credit score may qualify for as low as 3% down, while government-backed options like VA loans sometimes require no down payment.

4. When should I apply for a mortgage?

Especially given this year’s mortgage rate hikes, mortgage application-related concerns are some of the most googled real estate questions in 2023.  Buyers who apply at the beginning of the month are more likely to find an available lender, as they have just finished closing on previous mortgage agreements at the end of last month. However, ultimately the best time for a buyer to apply is when they’re financially ready.

5. How should I start a home search?

The best way to start a home search is with a local real estate agent. A licensed agent has access to a local MLS, which they’ll use to search for available listings that match their client’s wants and needs. They can also schedule home showings so buyers can see the property in person. Otherwise, public listing sites like Zillow, Redfin, and Realtor are good places to start a home search. Buyers can also look on their agent’s personal website to find home listings.

6. Can I buy in a seller’s market?

A seller’s market is when housing supply can’t meet buyer demand. This causes homes to sell faster, prices to rise, and higher competition between buyers. In an extreme seller’s market, a buyer may find themselves in a bidding war and lose their ability to negotiate with a seller. Those who must buy in a seller’s market should act quickly, be patient, and understand the stakes.

7. Should I partner with a real estate agent?

Although it isn’t necessary to buy or sell a home with a real estate agent, they can be a serious asset to buyers and sellers alike. For buyers, an agent will look for homes that meet their criteria, tell them about community amenities, point out red flags in properties, and negotiate the best offer. 

Agents are also important to seller success. In fact, sellers who list For Sale by Owner often attract less buyer interest and sell at a lower price. This is because they don’t have the same connections and tools an agent does to market the property.

8. How much is a real estate agent’s commission?

Agents ask for an average of 5.37% in commission fees, with 2.72% of the portion going to the listing agent and 2.65% of the commission going to the buyer’s agent. On a $700,000 home, sellers should be prepared to pay commission fees totaling around $37,590. The seller pays for both agents’ commissions. 

9. Are agent commissions negotiable?

Yes, they are negotiable, although a seller needs to have a few tools ready when negotiating a lower price. First, research more than one agent and weigh their commission rates against things like their experience and client reviews. Afterward, pitch an offer with reasons to back up the price. Be careful not to insult an agent with a low price.

10. Is the housing market slowing down?

The housing market is slowing down after 2020 and 2021’s hot seller's market. Previous trends were generated by extremely low mortgage rates, creating a buyer rush that pushed up housing prices. To correct the highly competitive market, the Federal Reserve hiked mortgage rates. Because of this, prices are finally starting to decline. 

Find answers to all your questions

The most googled real estate questions in 2023 touch on matters that are the most pressing and relevant to buyers and sellers today. From knowing when to buy or rent to understanding the role of an agent and uncovering larger market trends, there are countless things to know when it comes to making an informed real estate transaction. If you have more questions or are interested in buying or purchasing a home, contact experienced agent Eliad Cohen for professional help.

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