Dave Ramsey Has This Great Advice for Buyers Dealing With Low Inventory

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  • Today's housing market sorely lacks inventory on a national scale.
  • Sacrificing some wants could make it easier to find a home that fits your budget.
  • You may also want to wait for prices and interest rates to come down, if you can.

It pays to hear what he has to say.

There's a reason it's been such a struggle for so many people to buy a home over the past few years. The real estate market, on a national level, has been sorely lacking in inventory. And any time there's a shortage of inventory, it becomes difficult to find an affordable property to buy. This especially holds true today given where mortgage rates are at.

As of late January, the housing market, on a national scale, only had a 2.9-month supply of inventory, according to the National Association of Realtors. It normally takes more like a 6-month supply of available homes to fully meet buyer demand.

Now, there is a chance that housing inventory could pick up in 2023. But that's unlikely to happen overnight. So if you're trying to buy a home right now and are struggling with a lack of inventory, then it could pay to heed this great advice from financial guru Dave Ramsey.

Be prepared to compromise

Low housing inventory means a few things. First, it means that sellers can generally get away with charging higher prices, leaving you with larger mortgage payments to tackle. It can also mean that you may not find all of the features you want in a home, or that you may not be able to find them in the neighborhood you're hoping to move to.

In a market like this, Ramsey insists that buyers need to be prepared to sacrifice some wants. "If you can't find the house you want, be willing to give up some nice-to-haves for your must-haves."

So, let's say you want to move to a neighborhood with a great school district and you're aiming for a home with three bedrooms so that your two kids won't have to share a room. You might also want an updated kitchen and bathrooms. But if the former aspects -- great schools and more space -- are the most important things to you, then you may need to be willing to give up the nice kitchen and bathrooms and settle for a home where those areas could use an upgrade.

And to be clear, you can upgrade in time, once money allows for it. But if you're looking to buy a home now, you may need to make some compromises.

Furthermore, you may decide to purchase a smaller or outdated home now to put a roof over your family's head, and then buy a larger or more upgraded one down the line -- either when home prices or mortgage rates come down, or when your income increases. Ramsey even says it's not a bad idea to find the least expensive home in the best neighborhood you can afford, and then plan to upgrade down the line.

Advice worth taking

Many prospective home buyers are being advised to hold off on buying due to the current state of the market and the fact that mortgage rates are so high. If you're able to wait for real estate inventory to pick up, you might benefit in the form of paying less for a home and getting more of the features you really want.

But if you need to buy a home now, and not wait, then be prepared to let go of some of your wants. Otherwise, you might end up taking on a mortgage you can't afford and regretting that decision after the fact.

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