Smart Money Podcast: How to Buy a House in 2021

Liz Weston, Sean PylesJan 25, 2021

Many or all of the products featured here are from our partners who compensate us. This may influence which products we write about and where and how the product appears on a page. However, this does not influence our evaluations. Our opinions are our own. Here is a list of our partners and here's how we make money.

Welcome to NerdWallet’s Smart Money podcast, where we answer your real-world money questions.

This week’s episode starts with a discussion of NerdWallet’s Best-Of Awards, which list the best financial products and providers.

Then we pivot to what people need to know if they want to buy a home this year.

Check out this episode on any of these platforms:

Expect a continuation of the that kept prices rising last year despite — and in some ways because of — the pandemic. Owners are still reluctant to put their houses on the market and risk strangers walking around in their homes. At the same time, demand is rising because a big wave of people are entering their 30s, which is traditionally a prime time for . The work-from-home trend also seems to be affecting sales, with values rising faster in smaller, more affordable markets as buyers who can live anywhere flee big-city prices.

The supply situation may ease somewhat by this summer as more people are vaccinated and owners put more homes up for sale, but buyers should still expect a competitive market where they potentially could be outbid a few times before they find a home.

You can make yourself a stronger candidate for winning a potential bidding war by polishing your credit, saving for a down payment and gettingfor a mortgage. Also, create a checklist of your “must haves” and “nice-to-haves” so that you can quickly recognize homes that are a good fit and make a competitive offer. But skip the “” or personal written appeal to the seller, because those can fuel housing discrimination.

Get ready. Save up for a down payment and get your credit profile in the best shape possible before applying for a mortgage.

Set realistic expectations. Buying a house, especially in a competitive market, can take months to accomplish.

But be ready to act. Since the market is so competitive for buyers right now, prepare to jump when the stars align.

Have a money question? Text or call us at 901-730-6373. Or you can email us at . To hear previous episodes, visit the

On a similar note...
Dive even deeper in Personal Finance