You keep hearing everywhere how interest rates are so low and that this is the perfect time to buy a home. Just because it’s the perfect time to buy a home doesn’t mean you are ready to buy one. Buying a home can seem so overwhelming for most people and why wouldn’t it be, it’s probably going to be the biggest purchase you ever make. But buying a home doesn’t have to be so scary, as long as you are prepared and financially secure it can be an exciting step in your life.
7 Must Haves before searching for your dream home:
Break the Piggy Bank:
If you are planning on buying a home you first have to make sure you have enough money. Duh right?But how much should you save? Depending on the loan that you decide to go with you will have to put down either 3.5% all the way to up to 20% down . Then you must factor closing cost( closing cost are fees paid at the end of a real estate transaction) which is another 2-7% of the purchase price. Not to mention any items you will need to purchase as soon as you move in to your new home? Depending on your current living arrangements you may need to buy a refrigerator or sofas. If the house you buy is not in move in ready conditions you will also need to save for repairs.
Before you go get a pre-approval from your lender write out a budget. What amount do you feel comfortable paying every month? Consider the bills you have already have and any upcoming bills that might come up. Once you have an idea of where you would like your payments to you can sit down and talk to your lender regarding your options to make sure you stay within your price point.
Check your Credit:
This is good advise even if you are not buying a home. You want to check your credit to make sure everything is current and there isn’t anything outstanding that can hurt your credit score. Credit scores are very important when getting a loan. The higher the score the better, anything above a 700 will get you a good deal. If your score is lower than a 600 then that might mean higher payments or even a higher down payment. There are many ways you can improve your credit score. Avoid opening up too many credit cards and make sure you always pay your bills on time.
Location, Location, Location:
There are many factors that you should consider when picking a location to buy a home. Pick your top 10 cities that you would like to live in. Then you can start narrowing them down with the following questions:
- What will your daily commute be like? And how long will it take you to get home from work?
- What is the crime rate like in that city? A simple Google search can give you the answer to this question.
- If you have kids or plan on starting a family what is the school districts score.
- How far away are you from friends and family?
- Can I afford to live in this city? You can search on the price ranges for homes in that area to get an idea.
Short sales, foreclosures, auctions, escrow, title, these are all terms that will come up when buying a new home. It is important that you learn a basic understanding of real estate terminology. I’m not saying you should go sign up for a real estate class. But you should brush up on some terms so that you can feel confidential going into the process of buying a home. Here is a link for your basic real estate terminology. http://www.realestateabc.com/glossary/
Needs vs Wants:
When searching for your home you must be realistic on your wants vs your needs. I want the house that Noah built for Ali in the Notebook but guess what, that’s never going to happen. Don’t start the process of buying a home with the notion that you will find a home with everything you are looking for. You will end up disappointed and upset that you can’t find your home. Unless your rich then and can afford any home you please. Instead make a two column list, one with what you need in a home and the other column with what you would want your home to have. This will help your agent find homes best suited for you. If a home doesn’t have a specific feature you wanted see if it can be added in later. For example if you know that you really want a pool see if at least the yard would be big enough for you to build one later.
Finding a Real Estate Agent:
Speaking out of experience a real estate agent can make all the difference when buying a home. You need to find someone who you can trust will work hard to find you your home. Someone with experience and good communication skills. But most importantly you need to find someone who you can feel comfortable discussing all your thoughts or concerns.