BUYING 101…it’s a long one but we think it’s a worthwhile read!
Whether you’re a first-time homebuyer or a current owner looking for a smaller or bigger home; the ideas below will help you navigate the process. The search for a “new” home always starts out with a lot of excitement. The biggest mistake that we see are buyers jumping into a search unfocused; just hoping to “see what’s available” …only to stumble across the “perfect” home and not ready to make an offer. Instead, we recommend you take the steps below to ensure a successful, fun and exciting experience.
#1: Talk to a Broker!
Even if you are just starting to think about buying, always start by consulting with a real estate agent…ideally one that practices real estate full-time and operates it as a business. We can give you a summary of the current real estate market, set you up in a search in the MLS that is “real time” as well as lender recommendations. On the note of “real time”…did you know that all brokerages are pulling listings from the same source and not all post immediately as they come on market? And some don’t remove properties that have long sold! That’s why we recommend getting your search set up on the local MLS via your Broker.
#2: If you’re financing, consult with a lender to find out how much you can (or want to) afford…and get pre-approved!
It may not seem so exciting having to provide pay stubs, tax returns, etc. but it’s fundamental to know before you shop. If you start the process without a clear and defined financial snapshot, it’s like going to the store without your wallet (aka window shopping). Many times, we see buyers holding off till they see what they like. However, in our current market, most sellers will not consider an offer without your pre-approval letter.
#3: Consider your lifestyle and look toward the future
On average and in a balanced market, it can take at least five years for a home purchase to start paying off financially. Which means, it’s a good idea to pick a home that you can see yourself in for several years to come. For example, perhaps a single-story home would be better suited for your physical needs in the near future, or you plan to have a family and schools are important, your career, extended family that will be staying with you…just to name a few.
#4: Set your Criteria
Be realistic. It’s easy to get carried away dreaming about all the home features you want. We recommend considering location, features, size, yard…etc. Take out a piece of paper and pen (or your tablet) and put them in order of importance…consider those that you couldn’t live without. But keep in mind, your list will likely change as you start touring properties. Lastly, remember what you can and cannot change about your home. A kitchen can be updated but your location is forever.
We look forward to hearing from you as you venture into the next chapter of homeownership!