According to a survey released by BMO Harris Bank, Arizona house hunters visit an average of 11 homes before they buy, with the majority (84 percent) of buyers spending up to six months searching the market.

The report, conducted by Pollara, also revealed:
• Slightly less than half (48 percent) of home buyers currently on the market believe they will find their dream home in their price range, while 52 percent say it’s impossible
• 77 percent are willing to settle for a less than perfect home. In Metro Phoenix, that numbers rises to 84 percent
• Most (79 percent) of home buyers say they’ll know immediately when they’ve found their ideal house

“Typically the purchase of a home is one of the most important financial commitments we make,” said Tony Cesarano, Arizona Mortgage Manager, BMO Harris Bank. “For many people it is also a long-term commitment and is therefore, worth taking your time to find a home that both ‘feels right’ and fits within your budget.”

While overall stress levels about the home buying process are moderate, Arizonans still have some concerns.  Their biggest worry is that they will find something wrong with the house once they move in (73 percent). In addition, 69 percent fear that housing prices will drop after they move in, and 57 percent fear the possibility of not being able to afford their mortgage.

“The housing market lost some of its forward momentum earlier this year, in the wake of higher mortgage rates and as the availability of credit was constrained by uncertainty over new regulations. The latter, as anticipated, proved to be temporary,” said Michael Gregory, Head U.S. Economics, BMO Capital Markets.

“In the third quarter of this year, mortgage lending standards were being relaxed more prolifically than at any other point since the Federal Reserve’s new survey began in 2007,” added Mr. Gregory. “Meanwhile, 30-year fixed mortgage rates have dipped back below the 4 percent level in recent weeks, for the first time since the spring of 2013. Both of these developments point to a pickup in housing market activity, in terms of turnover and homes — yes, even ‘dream homes’— available for sale.”

At the national level, the survey found:
• 77 percent of home buyers thought they will know their dream home as soon as they see it
• First time home buyers are more likely to feel stressed, but they are also more likely to be excited (47 percent), hopeful (43 percent) and happy (37 percent)
• 42 percent of homeowners spend 4 or more months actively looking at homes before buying
• 33 percent of homeowners visited 10 or more homes before buying

“Working with a qualified mortgage professional can help alleviate some of the stress connected with buying a home. I’d recommend getting pre-qualified so you will know exactly how much you can afford when you find the perfect home,” Cesarano added.

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