When you consider that buying a home is the most expensive investment you can make, it’s easy to understand why it needs to be done very well. REMEMBER – buying a home is not like purchasing a DVD or a pair of jeans you can return and get your money back if you don’t like it.
No doubt YOU want to be as prepared as possible for buying a home – here are my 5 top recommended things home buyers must do in 2017:
Unless you are a cash buyer with big pockets, generous parents who are helping, you’ll need a mortgage. And the majority of people do. You need to know what you can qualify to borrow. No sense in looking at $500,000 homes when you are only qualified to purchase a $150,000 condo based on your income, assets, debts, and credit.
Be prepared to provide all the information and supporting documentation the lender needs – there’s a lot of it – and do so promptly. Getting a loan these days can be a lot of work, but the hard work and effort will pay off.
And be sure to understand your personal budget. If the monthly payment ends up being most of your take home pay, including all that discretionary money you want each month for travel, sports, clothing and partying, you will regret it. You DO NOT want to be house poor!!
WORK WITH A QUALIFIED REALTOR®
You might think the Internet is the be-all-end-all of information, with answers to every question about real estate. Don’t be fooled by this. There are plenty of gaps, discrepancies, contradictions, and enough stuff to confuse even the most savvy buyer on the Internet today
You will need a trusted, knowledgeable REALTOR® to answer questions, educate you, guide you through the process, and help find solutions to problems that might arise…and they will!. Not to mention you want someone in your corner, watching out for your best interests, financial and otherwise from start to finish – the agent representing the seller CANNOT do that for you. The Internet can’t do that, nor can your best friend. The REALTOR® working with you is like having your own attorney protecting you in a legal matter. Your agent is NOT, and cannot act as, an attorney, but the relationships are similar.
DECIDE WHAT YOU NEED IN YOUR HOUSE
You probably have some ideas of the things that are important to you, even if you are buying your first place. Be sure to focus on what you NEED, not just what you WANT. Sometime we humans want things we really don’t need, and can’t afford. That’s not to say you shouldn’t dream. But be prepared to give up some of those wants in order to get that you truly need, and can afford.
And be sure to consider the community and local neighborhood, too. It’s not just about the house but the location and the lifestyle you want to live.
LEARN AND UNDERSTAND LOCAL HOUSING MARKET CONDITIONS
There are a number of truisms in real estate. “Real estate is local” is one of the better known. Local market conditions can affect you and your purchase in significant ways – the inventory available to you in your price range, competition from other buyers, pricing, the strategy you use when making your offer, negotiations, and more.
Doing your research on the market and looking at homes will help you better understand what is going on. Be sure to watch what’s selling, how quickly, and for what price. But the best source of the true nature of the local market and HOW this affects you is your REALTOR®. Not the media, your best friend, your family or your neighbors. Ask to be educated.
HAVE THE RIGHT ATTITUDE
You need to have an attitude of commitment – to do the research, to ask plenty of questions, to get prepared financially, and to allocate the necessary time to look at homes and neighborhoods. You will likely find that house hunting is like having a second full-time job. So treat it seriously.
It’s hard but you MUST be realistic. You are not buying your dream home, unless you have a ton of money. And you probably won’t be living in your house forever. You should expect that there will be plenty of trade offs, and aspects of some houses that you are not in love with. But keep the long term goal in mind – buying your new home!
Be excited! This will be fun time, although you can expect it will be filled with lots of anxiety and nerves…it should be, because, well it IS a big deal.
Remain positive, even though it may take a while to find the right home. In our local market you may be in competition a number of times before you succeed. Keeping a positive attitude, even with the ups and downs will help.