Buying a home is an exciting time but can be an overwhelming experience, especially for first-time home buyers. Did you know, a typical home buyer will start searching for homes online months before ever speaking to a realtor or seeking professional guidance? Why? With the convenience of the internet and all the online home searches, homebuyers crave to be independent, thinking they are ready to navigate this complex process on their own. But what happens when you find that perfect home online? Are you ready to buy that home? Have you prepared yourself financially? Written a contract? Down payment? Closing costs? Do you really know the costs associated with the home-buying process? Home inspection? Appraisal?
Do you know the neighborhood? Schools? Like I said, it can be overwhelming…but it doesn’t have to be!
These are all normal questions and steps associated with purchasing a home. Entering 2020, we are seeing a serious lack of available homes for sale and mortgage interest rates hovering near all-time lows. With home prices rising and the current lack of inventory, it’s more important than ever to be prepared. Here are five steps will help you prepare to find your home in 2020.
1) Know Your Budget
- If you’re a lot like most of my clients, you have already been searching for homes online without speaking to a lender. You tell me you have done an online mortgage calculator
and know how much you can afford. However, some of these calculators don’t include all factors reflected in your payment.
- Another big determining factor is going to be your credit score that won’t show in these online calculators. Every loan is going to have a minimum credit score to qualify and the higher your score, the better interest right you will receive at that time.
- Lastly, you are going to have to understand how much money you will need to bring to the table when purchasing your home. This ranges from the down payment to inspections, appraisal, earnest money, etc.
- Lenders are a great resource to discuss your current situation and they can tailor your mortgage that fits your needs and makes sense. For example, if you need help with your down payment they can discuss available programs to help you get into your home with very little out of pocket.
- If you do not know how much you honestly qualify for, you cannot confidently search for homes.
2) Know your Must Haves
- This is the fun part! After you know your budget and how much you can qualify up to, let the home searching begin! However, this is also the time where you can drive yourself crazy if you don’t know what you want! I always advise my client to put together a list of what is most important to them. This is the needs vs wants and it helps us as agents to keep you on track and find you the perfect home! This list can change and always be modified but the more define your must haves are it allows you to narrow down your search and be ready to make your decision.
3) Be Ready to Make a Decision
- Competitive market will lead to opportunity for home buyers that are ready to move quick
- Found your dream home but want to see what else is out there. Good luck! Once you narrowed down those must haves mentioned before, when your perfect home pops up, its go time!
- Before a realtor can even write up the contract, the home buyer has to have talked to a lender to prequalify for the home amount from step one.
- This puts you in the strongest position to get your offer accepted, showing the seller you are ready and able to buy their home.
4) Make a Strong Offer Off the Bat
- Homes for sale are flying off the market, so if you find the home you love it’s wise to make a solid offer to put yourself at the top of the buyer’s choice list. Chances are, you aren’t the only interested party in the game, creating multiple offers at times. If you want that home, you have to make an offer they can’t resist!
5) Hire a Professional to Guide you
- Chances are, this is probably one of the biggest financial decisions of your entire life.
- As a licensed realtor, we are held to a strict code of ethics and have connections to everyone. Realtors have relationships with home inspectors, mortgage brokers, real estate attorneys, interior design, and the list goes on and on. It’s your agent’s job to get you the best possible price for your new home, making it as convenient as possible for you as they do all the work. And the best part of being a home buyer, realtor services are free! Agents are master negotiators and know what normally works and what doesn’t.
Interested in buying or selling? Contact Matt Perfette