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Hidden Gems: Finding Affordable Homes in High-Demand Areas

May 15, 2023 | Modified: August 28, 2023

In today’s competitive real estate market, finding an affordable home in a high-demand area can feel like searching for a needle in a haystack. With soaring prices and limited inventory, prospective homebuyers are often priced out of their dream neighborhoods. However, with creativity, determination, and a keen eye for potential, it’s possible to uncover hidden gems in these popular areas. In this blog post, we’ll share some valuable tips on how to find affordable homes in high-demand areas, including those that need cosmetic updates or are listed as “for sale by owner.”

1 Expand Your Search Criteria

When looking for affordable homes in high-demand areas, consider expanding your search criteria beyond the traditional methods. For example, utilize online real estate platforms, such as Zillow, Trulia, or realtor.com. Search local classifieds and community bulletin boards to find “for sale by owner” properties. These homes are often priced lower than their market value since they don’t involve agents’ commissions. Additionally, consider looking for properties that have been on the market for a longer time. Sellers might be more willing to negotiate on the price or accept offers below the asking price when their home has been on the market for a while.

2 Partner with a Knowledgeable Real Estate Agent

Having an experienced real estate agent by your side can be invaluable in uncovering hidden gems in high-demand areas. Seek out agents who specialize in the specific neighborhood you’re interested in and have a keen understanding of the local market dynamics. These agents may have access to off-market listings or exclusive information about upcoming properties. By tapping into their expertise, you can gain a competitive edge and increase your chances of finding an affordable home in your desired area.

3 Look for Homes with Cosmetic Updates Needed

Properties that require cosmetic updates are often overlooked by buyers seeking turnkey homes. However, these homes present an excellent opportunity to purchase a property below market value and add value through renovations. Look for homes with dated interiors, overgrown yards, or properties needing a fresh coat of paint. By investing in these upgrades, you can customize the space to your preferences while increasing the home’s value in the process.

4 Attend Open Houses

Open houses provide a unique opportunity to explore properties in high-demand areas without the pressure of a scheduled viewing. Watch for open house events and visit as many as possible in your desired neighborhood. By attending these events, you can get a feel for the market, meet real estate agents, and discover hidden gems that haven’t been widely advertised yet.

5 Be Patient and Persistent

Finding an affordable home in a high-demand area often requires patience and persistence. Don’t get discouraged if you don’t find the perfect property immediately. Instead, monitor the market regularly, set up alerts for new listings, and stay in touch with your real estate agent. Remember that timing is crucial; the right opportunity might present itself when you least expect it.

6 Consider Alternative Financing Options

If you need help finding affordable homes within your budget, explore alternative financing options. For example, look into government programs, such as FHA loans or down payment assistance programs, which can help make homeownership more accessible. Additionally, consider creative financing options like lease-to-own or seller financing, which can provide flexibility and alternative paths to homeownership. Most importantly, contact your local credit union to discuss your mortgage needs. Local credit unions, such as Benchmark Federal Credit Union, are not-for-profits with a mission of serving their members. They provide members with higher savings returns, lower loan rates, and lower fees.

Finding an Affordable Home

While finding an affordable home in a high-demand area may seem challenging, it’s not impossible. Expanding your search criteria, partnering with knowledgeable real estate agents, considering homes with cosmetic updates, attending open houses, and being patient and persistent can increase your chances of uncovering hidden gems in sought-after neighborhoods. Remember, the key is to think outside the box and keep an open mind. With a bit of perseverance and some creativity, you can find the perfect affordable home in your favorite neighborhood.

Applying for a Mortgage Loan 

Consider a Benchmark FCU mortgage loan when comparing mortgage lenders.  Benchmark FCU provides members with fixed and variable rate mortgage options to meet their needs. For a limited time, Benchmark is also offering eligible borrowers a $500 Lender Credit* at closing.

Looking to sell your current home after purchasing a new home? Read our blog “Easy home repairs to make before selling.”

*To receive $500 Lender Credit, Mortgage closing must occur prior to December 31, 2023.  This promotion may be discontinued at Credit Union’s discretion without prior written notice.

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