Date the Rate but Marry the House

Dori Wittrig August 21, 2023

In the world of real estate, the timeless adage “Date the Rate but Marry the House” has offered guidance to homebuyers for years. The premise is simple: prioritize finding your dream home and understand that interest rates can be refinanced later. However, as the market experiences rising interest rates and a decreasing housing inventory, the question arises: Is it still wise to follow this mantra without question? Let’s delve into the nuances of this perspective and consider whether you should indeed marry the house at any available interest rate?
“Date the Rate but Marry the House” encourages homebuyers to strike a balance between securing a reasonable interest rate and finding a home that suits their needs and preferences. The principle recognizes that while interest rates can change and potentially improve, the opportunity to find the perfect home might not present itself again.

Market Dynamics: Rising Rates and Limited Inventory

The current real estate market introduces some complexities:
  • Rising Interest Rates: Interest rates have been climbing, affecting mortgage affordability and monthly payments.
  • Limited Housing Inventory: Many regions are grappling with a shortage of available homes, leading to heightened competition among buyers.
  • Balancing Act: Buyers must now navigate the delicate balance between getting a reasonable interest rate and then refinancing when rates drop again.  While also securing a home amid the competitive market.

Evaluating the Approach

  • Interest Rate Impact: Take a closer look at how an increased interest rate affects your monthly budget and the total cost of your mortgage over time.
  • Refinancing Reality: Although refinancing is the goal, it’s not always a guarantee due to changing economic conditions, personal financial circumstances, and market trends.
  • Embrace the Opportunity: Recognize that the current real estate environment requires a nuanced approach. If you find a home that aligns with your desires, hesitating while hoping for a lower interest rate could mean losing out on the perfect property.

Considering Key Factors

To make an informed decision, consider these factors:
  • Long-Term Perspective: Assess your long-term intentions for the property. If you envision staying for an extended period, the impact of a slightly higher interest rate might be less significant over time.
  • Local Market Conditions: Research the local housing market thoroughly. If supply is scarce and demand is high, waiting for a lower interest rate might mean missing out on a desirable home and paying more for it later.
  • Budget Comfort: Stay true to your budget and comfort zone. While a higher interest rate may stretch your financial limits in the short term, it shouldn’t place undue strain on your finances.
While “Date the Rate but Marry the House” remains a valuable guideline, it’s essential to adapt this advice to today’s dynamic real estate landscape. Striking a balance between securing a favorable interest rate and finding the right home requires thoughtful consideration. The decision should ultimately align with your financial goals, lifestyle, and the unique conditions of the real estate market in your area.

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