Mortgage and real estate news this week: Biggest lenders and panic-homebuying avoidance

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We’re chock full of advice this week to help you get ahead in this busy season for real estate. From reviewing last year’s top lenders to advising sellers on the best pre-listing fixes to make, Bankrate has all your spring homebuying (or selling) bases covered.

1. Top mortgage lenders

The mortgage market has been in a tizzy since the start of the coronavirus pandemic, leading to a huge volume of loan originations last year. Quicken Loans was far and away the biggest originator both by number and dollar value in 2020, thanks in part to digital lenders having the upper-hand in a (semi-) locked-down nation.

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2. Don’t panic! Advice for buying in this crazy market

For most people, a house is the most expensive purchase they’ll ever make. With that in mind, you don’t want to overextend yourself by offering too much money, or waiving contingencies that can protect you from being on the hook for expensive home repairs as soon as you move in. Here are some things to look out for, and techniques to avoid panic buying.

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3. Lagging condo prices present an opportunity for some

Home prices have been crazy this year, and they don’t promise to get any saner — or lower — in the foreseeable future. Fortunately for some buyers, condo prices are rising more slowly than those of single-family homes, and that means that first-time buyers, especially, are at an advantage to get their foot in the door of homeownership.

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4. Yes, you should still fix up your house before selling

I’ll be honest: when I started reporting this story I was fully expecting the Realtors I spoke to to say, “no, the market is so crazy right now, it’s not worth the investment to renovate before selling.” But I was wrong. Experts still think that some basic home repairs and upgrades are worth it, because putting in a little can significantly boost the eventual sale price of your home, even now. No, that doesn’t mean you need to spend $100,000 redoing your kitchen, but a fresh coat of paint and some minor updates can go a long way.

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5. The benefits of group real estate investing

If you’re struggling to save up enough for a down payment on your own, it may be worth pooling your resources with a few other would-be homebuyers and purchasing property together. This strategy could smooth the road to homeownership and may significantly expand your price range.

Read the story.

Written by
Zach Wichter
Mortgage reporter
Zach Wichter is a mortgage reporter at Bankrate. He previously worked on the Business desk at The New York Times where he won a Loeb Award for breaking news, and covered aviation for The Points Guy.
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