Our Real Estate Blog
When you make the decision to buy your first home, you should be certain that you’re ready to make the leap into homeownership. There’s many different things that you should do as a buyer to get ready before you even set out on the search of a perfect home.
Choose An Agent
You may think that one real estate agent is the same as any real estate agent that you’ll find. This is far from the truth. Some agents have certain specialties. The knowledge that an agent will bring to your house hunt is often invaluable. You are making one of the biggest purchases that you’ll ever make in your lifetime. While many buyers think that they can simply do an online search themselves to find a home, your realtor will have many more resources to assist you in finding exactly what you’re looking for.
Figure Out The Financial Portion Of Buying A Home
While knowing how many bedrooms you need and where you hope to live is important, understanding your finances is even more important. You’ll need to talk to a lender to get the process started. After looking at your own personal budget, you should get pre-qualified. Getting pre-qualified allows you to see a general number of how much house you can afford. That can help you start the process, however, there’s still a few more steps.
From here, you can do what needs to be done to get your entire financial picture ready to buy a home. This includes saving for a downpayment, improving your credit score, and continuing to keep up bill payments and consistent work history.
Next, you’ll want to get pre-approved. This allows your lender to dig into your financial picture. Everything from your credit score to your income and employment history will be considered. Your lender will then give you a more definitive number of how much you’ll actually be able to get for a loan when you buy a home. To get pre-approved, be prepared with 1099 forms, pay stubs, tax returns, and bank statements. You’ll then have the concrete amount that you’re approved for along with the interest rate that you qualify for.
Once You Have Applied For A Home Loan
Once you find the realtor to assist you and secure the home of your dreams, you’re not free to head out and buy all the furniture that you need to fill up your house. The home loan must go through the underwriting process and until that is complete, your finances are essentially on lockdown. If you start opening new credit cards, decide to buy a car, or fall behind on payments, you could end up in a lot of trouble. You want to keep your credit score stable throughout the process of buying a home for smooth sailing.
We know that location matters when you’re trying to find the right home to buy, but why? First, buying a home you like in a location that matches your needs is a sign of a solid, long-term investment. Finding the right home isn’t always the answer to your property search woes. Many times, finding a house that needs a little TLC in the right neighborhood can give you a better return on your investment than finding a move-in ready house in the wrong neighborhood. You want to think in terms of finding a home that will be easy to sell if you so choose to sell it. Most importantly, you want to feel comfortable in your home and in your surroundings. What are the signs of a good location? Below, you’ll find the most important things you should look for when searching for a home.
Everyone wants a safe neighborhood, and you certainly know a sketchy neighborhood when you drive through it, but what denotes a neighborhood as “safe”? First, if you see people up and walking around a place, you know it’s a good start to finding a safe neighborhood. People who are outside, interacting with one another give a neighborhood a community feel. You will feel like your neighbors have your back in a neighborhood like this.
the better the school district is, the higher the property values in the area are. If you don’t have kids, this may not be much of an issue for you. However, if you’re thinking that you may want to sell your home anytime in the future, keep in mind that a less than reputable school district can really dip into property values.
You Can Easily Access The Things You Need
If you can access the shops, restaurants, and other conveniences easily from your neighborhood, that’s the sign of a good location. No one wants to have to drive 45 minutes in order to get to the grocery store. Many people who are looking for homes like to be in or very close to the action and have easy access to the things they need. Think in terms of convenience when it comes to location.
A View And Nature
A home with a view is always a sign of a great location. whether you’re near the water or near the mountains, it’s nice to have something scenic and peaceful near your home to enjoy. Property values near the water are also always a bit higher than those further inland.
Access to public transportation is key in many neighborhoods. You want to be able to easily get to and from where you need to go without waiting around. If the area is more suburban or rural, access to freeways and main roads is key. Adding precious time to your commutes is never pleasant. Many times location and commute times come down to a simple matter of balance and planning when searching for a property.
As a homebuyer, you likely want to do everything you can to ensure you can seamlessly navigate the property buying journey. Yet problems may arise that hamper your homebuying aspirations. Lucky for you, we're here to help you analyze the property buying journey and ensure you can avoid complications along the way.
Now, let's take a look at three tips to ensure you can minimize the risk of problems as you search for your dream residence.
1. Learn About the Homebuying Journey
There is nothing quite like buying a home. As such, you'll want to do whatever you can to prepare for the property buying journey to ensure you can limit the risk of encountering potential pitfalls.
Oftentimes, it helps to review housing market data related to residences in your preferred cities and towns. This information can help you assess the prices of available houses in your area and find out how long residences typically stay available before they sell. Plus, this housing market data may help you differentiate a buyer's market from a seller's market.
You also should establish realistic homebuying expectations before you enter the real estate market. In some instances, homebuyers require many weeks or months to find the perfect residence. But if you set realistic expectations for the homebuying journey, you may be better equipped than ever before to overcome myriad property buying challenges.
2. Get Pre-Approved for a Mortgage
A mortgage is essential for most homebuyers. If you secure a mortgage before you start your home search, you'll know precisely how much you can spend on a residence. Then, you can narrow your home search accordingly.
It generally won't take long to get pre-approved for a mortgage, either. If you meet with local banks and credit unions, you can review your mortgage options and select a mortgage that complements your finances.
3. Hire a Real Estate Agent
There is no telling what may happen as you pursue your dream residence. However, if you have a real estate agent at your side, you'll be able to prepare for any homebuying challenges that might come your way.
A real estate agent is a homebuying expert who is happy to teach you about all aspects of the housing market. He or she will help you craft a homebuying strategy, as well as respond to your homebuying concerns and questions. Furthermore, a real estate agent will maintain constant communication with you to ensure you can get the homebuying support you need, exactly when you need it.
For homebuyers who want to minimize complications, hiring a real estate agent is crucial. This housing market professional will set up home showings, help you analyze properties and enable you to submit a competitive offer to purchase your dream home. And as your home closing day approaches, a real estate agent will do whatever it takes to help you quickly finalize your house purchase.
Ready to buy a home? Use the aforementioned tips, and you can streamline the property buying cycle.
Before you even set out to buy a home, you may think that you need to look at a magic number of homes in order to find the house that’s right for you. There’s always a fear among buyers that they didn’t look at enough homes before settling on one. The number of homes that you look at is up to you. There is no magic number that will dictate finding the perfect home. The most important thing is to trust your own intuition. In A seller’s market, you also may not have much choice. When inventory is low, if you find a home you love, you’ll need to move to make an offer on it!
The Average Buyer
People looking at condos take between 1 and 3 months to find the property that’s right for them. Those looking for single family homes tend to take a bit longer- between 3 and 6 months to find a home. Buying a traditional house seems to spark more questions and more uncertainty, which leads buyers to take their time to find what they’re looking for.
Know Where You Want To Live
Before you start your home search, you should have a good idea of where you want to live. Have a list of cities, towns, and neighborhoods narrowed down to make your search a bit easier from the start. Take a ride around potential neighborhoods and get a feel for them. See the stores, restaurants, and nearby parks to really understand the area.
Match Your Lifestyles
Where you choose to live has a lot to do with your lifestyle. Think of the following:
- Where your friends live
- Where your family lives
- Where you work
- What you do for fun
Whatever you love and whatever you love to do should be a factor in your home search. If you love the beach, you don’t want to be a three hour drive away if you can help it. You also don’t want a 2-hour commute to work. Find the balance to make your life happier in the new space you choose.
Make A List
It sounds simple, but making a list of what you must have, what you’d like, and what would be a bonus can really help you in your home search. This holds true whether you look at 2 homes or 50 homes. The number of homes that you look at isn’t as important as your needs and wants. Buying a home is a huge investment and you need to be happy with your decision. While it’s not completely advisable to buy the first house that you see, if you have a good idea of what you want in a tough market, it’s best to put an offer in.
Your credit score can play a major role in your ability to get the financing that you need to buy a house. As such, you'll want to do everything possible to improve your credit score before you enter the real estate market.
Now, let's take a look at three quick, easy ways to boost your credit score.
1. Pay Off Debt As Quickly As Possible
Get a copy of your credit report from each of the three credit reporting bureaus (Equifax, Experian and TransUnion). You are entitled to one free copy of your credit report annually from each credit reporting bureau, and you should take advantage of this perk so that you can learn about your outstanding debt.
If you have lots of outstanding debt, you'll want to start paying this off as quickly as possible. Because the less debt that you have, the more likely it becomes that you can get a favorable mortgage from a credit union or bank.
Don't wait to begin paying off outstanding debt. If you pay off even a small portion of your outstanding debt regularly, you can move closer to getting the financing that you need to acquire a terrific house.
2. Avoid New Credit Cards
A low credit score can be worrisome, and it may cause you to consider a variety of options to manage outstanding debt. However, if your credit score is low, there is no need to take out additional credit cards.
New credit cards may seem like viable short-term options to help you cover various expenses while you pay off assorted outstanding debt. But these cards are unlikely to help you resolve the biggest problem – paying off your outstanding debt to bolster your credit score.
Instead of signing up for new credit cards, it often helps to cut back on non-essential bills. For instance, if you don't need cable, you may be able to eliminate this expense and use the money that you save to pay off outstanding debt. Or, if you have first-rate items that you don't need, you may want to sell these items and use the profits to pay off myriad bills.
3. Keep Your Credit Card Balances Low
Once you have paid off your outstanding debt, you'll want to keep your credit card balances low.
It often helps to have one credit card that you can use in emergencies. If you keep one credit card and get rid of any others, you may be better equipped than ever before to maintain a high credit score.
Lastly, if you require additional assistance as you prepare to kick off a home search, you may want to work with a real estate agent. This housing market professional can help you narrow your home search to residences that fall within a specific price range. That way, you can avoid the risk of spending too much to acquire a house.
Increase your credit score – use the aforementioned tips, and you can raise your credit score before you launch a home search.