Looking to buy a home? There is one thing to consider among all of the rest of this page that is by far the most important. **You get to choose everyone that you work with throughout this entire process. Find knowledgable people that you feel like will have your best interest as their priority. People that really give a shit, not just the person with the flashy sales pitch, or the nicest suit. Protect yourself !
Ok, now you’re ready! Here are five essential tips for making the process as smooth as possible.
FIRST-Get your finances in order.
Start by getting a full picture of your credit to see where you stand. You can obtain copies of your credit report from a mortgage officer when you speak to one) Make sure the facts are correct, and fix any problems you find or discuss how to raise your score. Invest in finding a suitable lender. If you’ve already found the best agent for YOU, they can recommend multiple lenders). Don’t be afraid to shop around!! Different financial institutions will have different lending parameters based on your personal financial status and history. Next, get pre-approved for a loan. Sellers will not give your offer any serious consideration without a pre-approval, and you will only be getting your hopes up to buy.
SECOND( if you haven’t already)- Find Your Protector (Agent). While the Internet gives buyers unprecedented access to home listings and resources, many aspects of the buying process require a level of expertise you can’t pick up from surfing the web. That’s why you’re better off using a professional agent than going it alone. Even if you could do it on your own, the selling side of the transaction on homes listed by agents pays the commissions of the buyers agent, so why WOULDN’T you let them do all the work for you ?!?
***Most importantly*** Find an agent who shares the same values as you, and you truly believe will have your best interests at heart and can help you with strategies during the bidding process.
NOW You Can Find a house you can afford.
As with engagement rings, there’s a general rule of thumb when it comes to buying a home: two-and-a-half times your annual salary. There are also a number of tools and calculators online that can help you understand how your income, debt, and expenses affect what you can afford. Don’t forget, too, that there are lots of considerations beyond the sticker price, including property taxes, energy costs, etc.
Don’t forget, have your protector explain the homework.
Before making a bid, make sure you understand what the market is like in your price point, so that you can best know what to expect. Next, when considering an offer, your protector will explain the sales trends of similar homes in the area or neighborhood, looking at prices for the last few months. Together you will come up with an asking price that’s competitive, but also realistic. Otherwise, you may end up ticking off your seller.
REMEMBER-Think long term.
Obviously, you shouldn’t buy unless you’re sure you’ll be staying put for at least a few years. Beyond that, you should buy in a neighborhood that’s the best investment for YOU (potential resale? travel time? good schools?) Whether you have children or not, this will have an impact on your new home’s resale value down the line. When it comes to the house itself, after you can an offer accepted, you should ALWAYS hire a home inspector who can point out potential problems that could require costly repairs in the future, or to negotiate repairs before you close on your new home.