Although the New Orleans real estate market remains hot, prospective homebuyers still have the opportunity to get in on the market if they are persistent, savvy, and open-minded.
It’s still a seller’s market, with the average sale price of New Orleans homes up almost 13 percent from April 2021 to Apr 2022, according to the New Orleans Metropolitan Association of Realtors (NOMAR). However, there are bright spots for first-time homebuyers. These include rising mortgage interest rates, which may cool housing prices, as well as a robust city program that can assist with closing costs and down payments.
Homebuyer Assistance Program
The City of New Orleans Direct Homebuyer Assistance Program offers down payment and closing cost subsidies to first-time homebuyers who are eligible.
Homebuyers who earn less than 80 percent of the median income in their area may be eligible for up to $55,000 in soft funds and $5,000 in closing costs assistance. This is a significant boost considering that the average home sale price in New Orleans was almost $356,500 as of April 2022.
Full price offers – or higher
The hot residential realty market in New Orleans today means that there is little to no room for negotiation on asking prices. NOMAR reports in April that nearly 100 percent of houses in Mid-City received offers at their asking price.
Prospective homebuyers might need to lower their price points in order to offer more than the amount they are approved for. For example, $300,000.00 homeowners may need to search for homes between $285,000 and $285,000 to qualify.
An experienced real estate professional
Homebuyers should ensure they have a highly skilled real estate agent who is proficient in negotiation skills. They need someone who can handle multiple offers. Experienced realtors have tools like escalation clauses and other things that they can use to help someone get a property.
Many real estate agents agree that homebuyers should have a preapproval letter before they look at houses. It is recommended that homebuyers use a local bank or lender.
Trey Miley, a local discount real estate broker, stated, “A local lender will always be my recommendation. It is much easier to use someone you can call when you are able to pick up the phone and actually dial a cell number. They will also know the lay of the land.”
Be ready and be aggressive
Another tip for home buyers is to be ready to grab every listing as soon as possible. NOMAR reports that homes in the Metro New Orleans area were listed for an average 28 days in April 2022 compared with 41 days last year.
Miley stated that homeowners should be able to call a realtor to look at houses immediately.
Expand your search
Due to the small number of properties available in the New Orleans real estate market, homeowners entering the market today should consider expanding their home search area to include other areas.
Maybe you are looking in Lakeview or Uptown, but should also consider Old Metairie. Expanding your search means you aren’t limited to the Irish Channel. Be prepared to look at Broadmoor and Gentilly. Gentilly is a very hot market. You need to go in with the right mindset. Don’t fall in Love with the House until It Closes.
What should homebuyers do?
The first step when competing in the New Orleans real estate market is choosing a realtor with experience. An experienced agent can help you understand the different neighborhoods of your city. They will be familiar with the local neighborhoods and can help homeowners find the right fit.
Prospective homeowners should also consider rental income when buying a house. This is an option that goes beyond single-family homes. Many houses in the area are already set up as doubles. The ability to rent out part of the property can help prove to lenders that you can pay the mortgage.
Homeowners should first get in touch with a lender. Real estate agents can also recommend lenders they have dealt with previously. It can be difficult, but there are listings out there even if they are selling quickly. A great real agent can help you through the process. And remember, a home purchase is usually a long term investment, so take it seriously.