Our Real Estate Blog
If you've set a goal of buying your first home within the next year, there are several things you can begin doing now to set the stage for a positive experience.
While it pays to familiarize yourself with everything from your credit score to mortgage options, choosing a good real estate agent will prove to be an invaluable advantage when navigating through the process of buying a home. An experienced, knowledgeable agent will help keep you on track, prepare necessary documents for you, and answer the myriad of questions that will occur to you.
Should you choose the first real estate agent you talk to? People occasionally find a perfect fit right off the bat, but it's often a good idea to interview a couple agents before you make your final decision. Having one or two points of comparison can provide you with a wider perspective of available choices.
Not only would you want to work with a professional who has a successful track record in helping first-time home buyers, but you also want to make sure your personality is compatible with your agent's communication style and energy level. Unless you stumble on the home of your dreams on the first day, you're probably going to be spending a lot of time with them. Most real estate agents do tend to be knowledgeable, resourceful, and service oriented, but your journey will be a lot smoother and more satisfying if you sign on with an agent who's a good match for your individual needs and personality.
One of the most effective ways to prepare yourself for a real estate search is to create lists of things you need to do, have, and schedule. It's also helpful to prioritize what you want in your ideal house. By identifying and reminding yourself of the features that are most important to you, you'll have a greater tendency to recognize what you want when you see it. You'll also find yourself communicating your needs and wants more clearly to your real estate agent. As is the case with any professional or personal relationship, good quality communication usually yields the best possible results.
As a home buyer, there are many property features and priorities you'll want to ponder and discuss with your significant other. In addition to your future home's square footage, bedroom space, and number of bathrooms, you may also be interested in the reputation of school districts, the character of neighborhoods you're considering, and the amount of privacy each property affords.
Another list worth compiling before you get too far into the house hunting process is a personal budget. By seeing how your income stacks up against your monthly expenses, you'll be in a stronger position to determine a realistic price range for your next home.
A home showing may play a key role in your ability to sell your house. If a showing is successful, a buyer may submit an offer in the hours or days that follow. On the other hand, if a home fails to impress during a showing, a buyer likely will continue to search for the perfect residence.
It can be easy to ensure that a home showing is successful. Now, let's take a look at three steps that home sellers can follow to increase the likelihood of a successful showing.
1. Clean Your Home
A neat, tidy home is likely to make a positive first impression on potential buyers. Therefore, you should allocate the necessary time and resources to clean your home from top to bottom prior to a showing.
Mow the front lawn, trim the hedges and perform assorted home exterior maintenance. That way, you can instantly boost your house's curb appeal.
Also, wipe down countertops, vacuum carpets and complete various home interior maintenance. By doing so, you can guarantee that potential buyers will like what they see as soon as they walk through your home's front door.
2. Remove Personal Belongings
The goal of a home showing is to help a potential buyer envision what life would be like if he or she purchases your house. As such, you'll want to take down artwork, photographs and any other personal belongings before a home showing. Because if you keep these items on display, it may be tough for a buyer to picture himself or herself as the owner of your home.
Don't forget to eliminate as much clutter from your home as possible too. If you put excess items in storage or sell or donate these items, you can cut down on clutter and show off the true size of your residence.
3. Be Flexible
After you perform extensive home interior and exterior cleaning and remove myriad personal belongings from your residence, it may be only a matter of time before a home showing is scheduled. If you remain flexible, you can boost your chances of hosting as many home showings as possible.
There is no telling when a prospective buyer will want to check out your residence. Thus, if you maintain your flexibility, you'll be ready to leave your house at a moment's notice to accommodate a buyer's request for a showing.
After a home showing, you may receive buyer feedback as well. If a buyer leaves negative feedback about your residence, there is no need to worry. Use this feedback to identify and address problem areas in your house, and you can guarantee that future home showings hit the mark with buyers.
Lastly, if often helps to work with an expert real estate agent when you sell your house. This housing market professional is happy to help you get ready for a home showing and will offer honest, unbiased home selling recommendations. As a result, a real estate agent can help you get the best possible results throughout the home selling process.
Ultimately, there is no surefire amount that you should spend on a house. The real estate market varies in cities and towns nationwide, and as such, the prices of houses fall across a broad range. Also, the condition and age of a house – as well as a homebuyer's budget – may dictate how much an individual is willing to spend on a particular residence.
As you search for your dream house, it helps to plan ahead as much as you can. Because if you have a homebuying strategy in place, you can determine exactly how much you can spend to acquire your ideal residence.
Now, let's take a look at three tips to help you get your finances in order before you kick off a house search.
1. Check Your Credit Score
Believe it or not, your credit score may have far-flung effects on your homebuying budget. And if you fail to review your credit score before you embark on a house search, you may miss out on an opportunity to purchase your dream house.
A low credit score may make it tough to get the mortgage you need to acquire your ideal residence. Thus, you may want to check your credit score and find ways to improve it before you begin a house search.
You won't have to break your budget to get a copy of your credit report from the three credit bureaus (Equifax, Experian and TransUnion). In fact, you are entitled to a free copy of your credit report annually from each of the aforementioned credit bureaus. Request a copy of your credit report, and you can learn your credit score.
Of course, if your credit score is low, you can always improve it by paying off outstanding debt. Or, if you find errors on your credit report, contact the credit bureau that provided the report so that you can get these issues corrected.
2. Get Pre-Approved for a Mortgage
Pre-approval for a mortgage makes it easy to enter the housing market with a budget at your disposal. If you meet with a variety of banks and credit unions, you can get pre-approved for a mortgage sooner rather than later.
Remember, banks and credit unions employ friendly, knowledgeable mortgage specialists. Don't hesitate to ask these specialists about assorted mortgage options, and you can select a mortgage that perfectly matches your finances.
3. Consult with a Real Estate Agent
A real estate agent can make it simple to pursue your dream house. This housing market professional will help you narrow the price range for your dream house and ensure you can discover the perfect house without delay. Perhaps most important, a real estate agent is happy to negotiate with a seller's agent on your behalf, ensuring you can get the best price on any home.
Ready to start a home search? Use the aforementioned tips, and you can simultaneously look for your dream house and avoid the risk of paying too much to purchase your dream residence.
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