TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) — With the Federal Reserve announcing new interest rate increases this week, homebuyers across the country, including in Tampa Bay, are wondering how this will affect them.

“The economy and the country have been through a lot over the last two and a half years and have proved resilient,” said Jerome Powell, Chairman of the Federal Reserve.

The Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC), the panel of Fed officials responsible for setting interest rates, said it would raise the bank’s baseline interest rate range to 1.5 to 1.75 percent, an increase of 0.75 percentage points. 

“There has been a slight uptick in the amount of inventory that’s starting to come online,” said Bob Sauerwine with Celebrity Home Loans, reflecting on the changing home market.

“It is starting to level off, you may not have to go twenty or thirty thousand above asking right now – it is starting to level off right now,” he added.

He says buyers at any stage of the process should focus on three things. First, find a realtor who has a good understanding of the market in which you’re trying to buy. Also, make sure the realtor has a good handle on the lending process.

Second, make sure your lending institution is one that can shop around for the best rates. Sauerwine says some institutions do the lending themselves, meaning the rate won’t be as competitive as it could be.

Third, he recommends finding a lender who will fully qualify you to buy, not just get you pre-approved. This will allow a buyer to compete with cash offers by having financing in place.

“Asking questions like ‘after we buy a home through you, what’s next?’ See what they say,” he suggested. “We are actually trying to help you with the biggest financial piece in your assets which is your home. So we use that information and try to advise you based on your goals, where you want to be.”