BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WIAT) — National reports show house prices are on the rise. Local realtors say current interest rates are high with some reaching into the 7% range.

This has a direct impact on mortgage payments which could lead some towards renting instead, but Birmingham realtor Gusty Gulas said renting isn’t necessarily a lower price due to rental inventory shortages.

He said you have to look at all your options and make the best decision for your personal situation. Overall, Gulas said it’s typically your best bet to buy a house for home appreciation and equity building.

“We also have people that move into the area for just two and three years,” said Gulas, President of the Gusty Gulas Group at EXP Realty. “They’re buying a home, but they’re also seeing they’re building wealth because the prices of houses are going up. So they’re able to sell that house, take that money from a down payment of the selling of the house and put that into future homebuying or paying off debts, things like that.”

Gulas said it’s a tough time to buy for people looking for a new home. He said it’s important for buyers to be motivated and that it help to be coached by realtors who can put you in the best position.

People want to negotiate and get a good deal, but Gulas said sometimes getting the house is the best deal, meaning you may have to go over list price.

“Recently we had a buyer in Vestavia that actually made an offer of $40,000 over list price,” said Gulas. “This was on a $560,000 home, and they were also willing to pay $25,000 difference at an appraised value should that be an issue and they still did not get the house.”

Homeowners looking for a change are in luck because Gulas said it’s a seller’s market in most locations. Buyers are out there looking for homes.

He says realtors need more inventory to help those buyers get off the sidelines. So, if you are considering selling, Gulas said now is a great time.

“Especially when you have multiple people that are interested in their home, and it’s going above market, they’re getting paid a little more than they were expecting,” said Gulas. “So, depending on the scenario, they may be allowed to put more money down on another house that they’re looking at buying. So, they are thrilled.”

Moving forward, Gulas said they would ideally like to see mortgage rates go down, but regardless, it’s important to create a plan and be prepared with professional assistance when navigating the housing market.