ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — There are five steps every homebuyer should take to land their dream home in this hot real estate market. Tony Holmes, the Vice President and Director of Mortgage Lending at the ESL Federal Credit Union discussed those steps and just how hot the market is.

“What we’re observing is low inventory, fewer listings from the home perspective for sale, hyper-competition,” said Holmes. “We have cash buyers. We’re seeing valuations increase. So we’re up about 10% in terms of the median sales price from 2020 and I anticipate that number will continue to rise over the next few months.”

Holmes said for all homebuyers — especially first-time homebuyers — there are five steps you should take to improve your chance for a successful outcome.

“Tip number one is always to understand your financial profile. Get your credit report. Make sure it’s accurate. Make certain you’re paying your debts on time. If you don’t have a savings account you should establish one. If you have one continue to contribute to that account. And then finally I think a budget is essential. It really holds you accountable as you go through your homebuyer journey.

“Tip number two is really around education. For many people, this is the largest purchase in their life and so you want to be informed about the transaction and there is a slew of videos that are short videos for free online that take you through each step of the process. You also want to understand the cost associated with buying a home, such as closing costs, but also owning a home. Also on the educational front—products and programs. I think there’s a big misconception that you’ve got to put 20% down, and that’s not the case. In many instances, you can put as little as 3% down to purchase your home. There are also products and programs – you may want a 30-year fixed rate. You may want a 15-year fixed rate. Perhaps you’re a veteran or servicemember and you can qualify for a VA loan. So all things you want to educate yourself on throughout the process. Understand the rate environment too. Rates are still great so it’s a terrific time to buy. You’ve got more purchasing power.

“The third tip is about your team of professionals. You want to work with a realtor, an attorney, and in some cases for first-time homebuyers a home counseling agency, and then lastly a mortgage professional – all to help you navigate this somewhat daunting process.

“And tip number three kind of leads into tip number four with that mortgage professional who can help you get a pre-approval, but really gives you that assurance to buy and buy with confidence.

“And that final tip, again for all the folks in the Rochester community, think of that ‘ROC’ because it is competitive. It can be intimidating but think of that ROC acronym – that being Resilient, being Optimistic, and lastly being Confident as you buy your new home.”