Buying a home is challenging, but still possible

Photo: Mike Pate, Realtor with Capstone Realty Services in Southaven. (Courtesy photo)

If you’re looking to purchase a new home, know the demand is high and the supply is low. That doesn’t mean you should forget having the American Dream of home ownership, but a local realtor says to be prepared and be flexible.  

Mike Pate left a 14-year career in law enforcement to go into real estate. Pate is now part of Capstone Realty Services in Southaven with Jeff Waters as owner/broker, and part of a 15-member team serving DeSoto County. 

Pate says the balance of supply and demand in real estate for DeSoto County is heavily skewed toward much more demand over supply.  There are many people wanting to purchase a home right now, Pate said. 

“Interest rates are still really good and that’s driving even more people to want to buy,” said Pate. 

The start of the coronavirus pandemic was when the number of homes started to shrink and it’s been falling ever since.  

“We were normally at about 1,000 active residential listings for the Northwest Mississippi area,” said Pate. “As that number started to drop last summer, the number dropped to about 500. We are below 200 now and it’s still going down.”

What that means to the homebuyer is that the seller has the advantage to adhere more closely to the asking price. Buyers now have to be ready as they search for their next home.  

“It’s pretty much nationwide,” Pate said. “Inventory’s low pretty much everywhere. It’s pretty much the same everywhere that I’m aware of.”

Families seeking their next home in DeSoto County should be ready prior to even starting the search. Pate advises buyers first get with a local and reputable lender to get pre-approved for financing.  

“They need someone who has a good reputation for being able to meet the closing deadlines and things like that,” said Pate. “You don’t want any delays in closing because that can really affect things. You want someone who can get things done in a timely fashion. Before you even start looking, that’s something you need to do.”

Another good reason for pre-approval is the potential homebuyer can quickly show the seller they have the financial backing, especially since several offers appear quickly when a new home hits the market.  

The next thing to do before a buyer hits the streets looking at homes, Pate said, is to start making a list of what is wanted in a home and what the family really needs.  

“The list should have specific things that you need to have, like a certain number of bedrooms, how much space you need, depending on the size of family and that sort of thing,” Pate said, adding that list likely should not be etched in stone because the buyer in today’s market will need some flexibility. 

“How much are you willing to bend on the wants or how important are they to you?” Pate said. “Do you want to look at an existing home or are you interested in new construction? You have to decide what it is you want and where you want to be.”

Pate also suggests working with an agent who is familiar with the area and who knows a variety of ways that financing may be achieved if needed.  

Pate was settled into a law enforcement career of 14 years when an injury had him starting to look at a potential career change. 

“After a couple of injuries within about a year of each other, I realized I was ready to do something different, a little more laid back,” Pate said. “I was tired of chasing people and wrestling people. I was ready to do something different.”

The injuries also were a concern for Pate about his being cleared to return to active duty. It was about that time he started talking with Waters about real estate and Capstone Realty Services. Pate earned his real estate license and started with Capstone Realty Services about six months before the pandemic started. Even though Pate was cleared for active police duty, he said he had already decided it was time for a change.  

“I was medically cleared to return to duty but I already had that bug in my mind to have better hours, not have to work nights anymore and to be able to somewhat set my own schedule and potentially make more money at the same time,” Pate said.  

Mike Pate and Capstone Realty Services in Southaven can be located at 7125 Getwell Road, Suite 201, in Southaven.

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