Traditionally, spring has been the time that many buyers and sellers become motivated to enter the real estate market. The warm weather and longer days encourage potential buyers to get out and look at homes that fit their needs and budget. Similarly, sellers can take advantage of the seasonal flowers and favorable weather to boost the curb appeal of their homes. If you’re thinking of buying any type of property, here are some tips to help you get ready:
1. GET YOUR CREDIT IN SHAPE:
If you plan to finance your home purchase, check your credit history, especially if you are a first-time buyer. That way, you can correct any errors, and take measures to boost your credit score. Take advantage of free credit reports either monthly or annually to help you stay on top of your score.
2. GET PRE-APPROVED FOR A MORTGAGE:
Not only does this show sellers that you are a serious buyer, but it also helps narrow your search criteria. Early in your search, meet with a mortgage lender who will take a look at your credit history, your savings/ investment statements and your current financial situation. Understanding what you can afford and the different financing options available will make your home search so much easier and a lot less stressful.
3. ESTABLISH YOUR BUDGET:
Just because a lender wants to give you ____ does not mean you have to spend ___. Determining how much you want to spend on a mortgage each month, how much you are willing to put down (depending on different financing options), and factoring in estimated closing costs will keep the financial surprises to a minimum. DON’T GO OUT OF YOUR COMFORT ZONE! If you are only comfortable with a $1,500 / mo mortgage, but really love the kitchen in a place that’s going to cost you $2,200 / mo…..please, don’t do it. We do not want you to be house poor.
4. MAKE A LIST:
Buying a home is a process of elimination, not a process of selection. Make a list of you ideal home’s must haves and deal breakers. This will help you to narrow your search so that you can find a home that fits your current and future needs.
5. THINK ABOUT RESALE:
According to the NAR profile of home buyers and sellers, the average homeowner lives in their home for nine years. While you may purchase your home as a long-term investment, keep in mind that you ma need to sell it one day. Consider the homes resale value when you’re looking at properties.
Now, considering that new and seasoned buyers will keep all of these things in mind, the process should be a lot smoother than some of you have already experienced. According the NAR, the typical home search for buyers lasts about 12 weeks, and half of buyers said that finding the right home was the most difficult step in the home buying process. Start your search right. Use all of the resources that are available to you. All of the above steps are FREE! I highly recommend using the internet to look through property photos of available homes, driving the neighborhoods you think you may want to live in, and researching the schools and their boundaries if you have children. Then, contact a realtor. Our sole purpose as realtors is to get you into a home that you love while minimizing the surprises and headaches that are normally a natural part of the process.
Danielle MacCarthy, REALTOR