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By Peggy Horn
Realtor, contributing writer 

Tips for buying a house


March 16, 2024

The real estate market has certainly had its ups and downs in recent years.

Peggy Horn.

During the pandemic housing prices soared due to the demand for homes with an extra bedroom or an office. Many people also decided they didn't need to live in a large city anymore because the need to be close to the company office fell away. After mortgage rates hit a 20 year high in 2023, the market quickly slowed. But with the decrease in interest rates from last year, mortgage payments have become more affordable for many.

As more buyers are in the market for a home, purchasing one will become more challenging due to competition. Also, this demand will keep home prices high. If you're ready to step off the sidelines and into a new home keep the following things in mind:

1. If your credit score is below 700, work to pay off your credit cards. Begin with the highest interest rate cards. Then pay off the cards that have the smallest balances.

2. Get a pre-approval from a lender before you go house hunting. With the expected competition this spring, a buyer with a pre-approval will have an advantage over a competing buyer without one.

3. It can be important to time your purchase right. If you are looking for lower interest rates, you may want to wait until the second half of the year. But if you'd rather avoid a lot of competition, consider buying sooner before the market really picks up.

4. It's important to build up your savings. A down payment and closing costs often amount to approximately 5% of the home purchase price. The larger the down payment you put down the better the interest rate you will likely receive. New homebuyers also find that owning a home has many unexpected expenses, as well. So, save up before buying.

5. Don't rush into buying a home. You don't want to make potentially hasty decisions on what may be the biggest financial decision of your life. Forecasts are showing that mortgage rates will likely continue to fall in 2025.

The local market

In February of this year, 32 homes sold in Tehachapi and the surrounding areas with an average price of $398K. In the same month a year ago, 26 homes were sold with an average price of $404K. That shows a pretty stable market. On average, it takes about two months from when a home goes on the market until it is sold. So, if you are needing to move during a specific month, plan on putting your house on the market two months beforehand.

Written by Peggy Horn, Realtor® DRE#02086761

Data taken from the Tehachapi MLS is deemed reliable but has not been verified and is not guaranteed.

Peggy Horn is a Realtor® and the Office Manager at Coldwell Banker Frontier. If you would like more information regarding the local housing market, you can contact her at


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