Find my gaming-inspired blog posts difficult to read? You can find a helpful breakdown of terms used in this blog post on housing in this term glossary. I explain there what terms like Players and Real Life mean to me, as well as other terms. Hint: I like to nerd out and get inspired by r/Outside.
Player-owned housing is one of my favorite features in any video game. I love the customization aspects, I love the idea of creating a place of refuge for my fictional character, and I really like dumping my inventory into a random chest instead of having my character over encumbered. Every game from Runescape to Skyrim, from Pokemon: Legends Arceus to Fable, includes this feature because they know players like to have that sense of ownership.
So why does Real Life make it so hard?
There’s a confluence of factors going on in the current housing market that have made Real Life housing quite unattainable for lower-level players.
Inflation has been an extra aggressive force over the last few years. This is partially thanks to the scarcity of goods and labor around the world in materials-related industries.
Land near metropolitan centers has become less and less available as single-family homes still dominate many mid-sized cities. Single-family homes are favored by our culture over much more efficient multi-family housing like purchasable apartments and condos.
Far more high-level players have decided to finish out their playthroughs in their homes, as opposed to moving into communities built to support them as they age.
Finally, all of the lower-level players (an entire generation or two at the same time) decided that it was time to own homes and so the demand surged, putting incredible stress on an already-limited supply.
Those are lots of reasons why it sucks, but what can we do about it?
The current housing market, at least in my server (which is metropolitan NC) demands a few additional things from buyers.
First, save up a larger down payment to go into the negotiation with. This will help you cover the costs of your loan. It will also allow you to cover due diligence and earnest money costs. Those two costs have surged recently, going from 0.5% or 1% of asking, up to between 5% and 10% of asking price. It’s crazy, but you may have to guarantee $30,000 just to have the right to inspect the home!
Next, make sure to have a pre-approval letter from your loan officer before the shopping process begins. This means you are not making an offer that might fall through because you can’t get financing. You will instead be making an offer that the bank says you can make and that they will back.
Finally, act quickly. The timetable for buying a house in competitive markets has shortened from weeks to hours. Put in your best offer (or close to it) as soon as you know that the house is one you might want. The sellers of the home will likely receive multiple offers within the first day or so of showing their home. That means that it may be off the market within a few days. You will have to react quickly to counteroffer and negotiate, which can be very stressful.
Phew…that’s a lot of work.
Buying a home in the most buyer-favored markets is a lot of work, but buying in this current market is no joke! Be prepared for a few stressful weekends at a minimum and remember not to become too emotionally-attached to an individual property, as hard as that is. May the odds be ever in your favor.