Lauren Demerjian, BROKER's Blog
Buying a home is a huge investment and the buying process can be very confusing—especially if you’re buying your first home. However, buying a home doesn't have to be challenging. By understanding a few key tips, the whole home buying process can run smoothly and efficiently.
Understand Your Needs
Even before you start looking at houses to buy, you should clearly understand your needs. The last thing you would want to happen would be to regret your purchase decision down the road. That being said, it’s extremely vital to do a lot of homework before even browsing for your new home. Think about your budget, lifestyle, future plans and anything else that relates to buying a new residence. This new home is an investment that can be with you for a very long time; therefore, you must make educated decisions throughout the whole home buying process.
Have a Hefty Saving Fund Ready
When buying a home, it’s very smart to put down a solid down payment. Doing this can help to limit the amount of interest you’ll pay over time, including possible lower mortgage insurance. While many lenders will permit a low down payment, it’s a good idea to put down at least 20%. However, this can be a hefty fee. In fact, even a 5% down payment on a $200,000 home is still $10,000. That being said, you’ll need a big chunk of savings in order to have an appropriate down payment. Be sure to start saving early and don’t pull the trigger on buying a home if your savings isn’t sufficient.
Explore Down Payment and Mortgage Options
There are many stressful factors in the home buying process, but the money involved tends to be the most troubling aspect. However, by knowing the many options you have when it comes to the down payment and mortgage, you can rest easy knowing that you made great decisions when it comes to financing your home. If you’re trying to come up with a solid down payment, you may want to try these options:
Understand Your Budget
Understanding the budget is where many home shoppers fail. They may find a home that they can afford, but they don’t account for the unfortunate instances that can happen during home ownership. Things like a broken dishwasher, plumbing issues or water damage are all situations that can happen, and many of these scenarios can cost a great deal of money. That being said, be sure to look at properties that cost less than what you’re approved for.
Don’t Focus On Market Timing
Many home shoppers will continue to monitor the real estate market until they feel like the market has tipped in their favor. While some believe this is a very effective tactic, it isn’t a very intuitive move. That’s because it's impossible to anticipate the housing market. Prices will go up or down at any time, and it’s extremely difficult to know what will happen on any given day. So when you find that perfect home, pull the trigger and go for it—no matter where the market stands.
Shopping for a new home is difficult and time-consuming. With all of the homes listed for sale, it’s tempting to want to visit all of them. However, if you’re juggling house-hunting with your work and personal life, then you likely won’t have time to set aside many hours to visit several homes.
This is where you can use technology to your advantage. With free, modern tools online you can find out plenty about a house and the neighborhood it’s in without ever having to go and visit it. Better yet, you can do so in just a few minutes right from home.
In this article, we’re going to teach you how to become a real estate investigator from the comfort of your own couch, helping you save time while hunting for the perfect home for you.
Know what you’re looking for
While it’s okay to browse homes for pleasure, when it comes to getting serious about buying a home you’ll want to keep your search as specific as possible. Think about what you or your family need in a house and neighborhood, rather than focusing on idealized versions of those things.
A good way to do this is to sit down and make a list of your budget and the five most important things you’re looking for in a home. These could be things like distance to work, being in a certain school district, or having a certain number of bedrooms. Once you have these details in mind you can begin your search.
There are a number of search tools for locating homes near you. The key to searching, however, isn’t the tool you use but how you search. Refer to your list for things like room numbers, square footage, and location.
If you don’t come up with as many hits as you’d like, try setting up email or text alerts so you can be made aware of the new results for your area.
Once you have a list of about ten properties, you’re ready to start researching them further to see which sellers you want to contact to view the home.
Researching a potential home
Many people are surprised at the number of things you can learn about a home just from a Google search. However, Google will be an indispensable tool in your search for the perfect home.
Let’s start our search on Google Maps. Type in the address for the house you’re researching and see if there are any photos of the home that aren’t on the listing page. Next, enter the satellite view of the home to get an idea of the layout of the home and property.
While you’re in Google Maps, it’s a good idea to browse the local area for businesses, hospitals, schools, parks, and other services that might affect your decision. Then, set a driving route between the house and your place of work to find out how long it would take you to get to work if you moved there.
Once you’re done in Google Maps, head back to the Google search page and browse the results for the address. This could show you information on previous owners, prices, and crime statistics. All of this will be useful information in your search.
Repeat this search method for the rest of your homes on your list and you’ll be narrowing down potential homes to visit in no time.
Believe it or not, an inspection may make or break a home purchase. And if a homebuyer fails to allocate time and resources to perform a comprehensive inspection, the consequences could be severe.
Ultimately, there are many reasons to conduct an extensive inspection before you finalize a home purchase, and these include:
1. You can identify any underlying structural problems with a house.
A home inspection provides a valuable learning opportunity for a homebuyer. In fact, an inspection can help you identify any underlying structural problems with a house before you complete your purchase.
During a home inspection, a property expert will examine a residence both inside and out. When the property expert has completed his or her inspection, this professional will provide you with an inspection report.
As a homebuyer, it is important to review all inspection report results closely. With these home insights, you can decide whether to proceed with a house purchase or reenter the real estate market.
2. You can assess the costs associated with various home repairs.
A comprehensive home inspection enables you to learn about a wide range of home problems. After you receive a home inspection report, you can analyze the costs associated with various home repairs as well.
If you find that home repair costs could be substantial, you may want to ask a seller to complete assorted home improvements. Or, you can always request a reduced price for a home due to its condition.
Furthermore, if you are overwhelmed by potential home repairs, it is important to remember that you can still walk away from a home purchase. And at this point, you can restart your home search from square one.
3. You can determine whether a home is a viable long-term investment.
A home generally is a long-term investment, and as such, you should strive to optimize the value of your house purchase. Thanks to a comprehensive home inspection, you'll be in a great position to do just that.
With an in-depth home inspection, you can identify a house's strengths and weaknesses. And if you feel comfortable with a house after an inspection, you can finalize your home purchase and reap the benefits of a successful investment.
When it comes to conducting a home inspection, it helps to collaborate with a real estate agent. This housing market professional can put you in touch with the top local home inspectors to ensure you can receive expert support as you evaluate a residence.
Let's not forget about the assistance that a real estate agent can provide throughout the homebuying journey, either. A real estate agent can set up home showings, help you submit offers on houses and much more. As a result, a real estate agent will make it easy for you to enjoy a successful homebuying experience.
Ready to pursue your dream house? Consult with a real estate agent, and you can receive plenty of support as you proceed along the homebuying journey.
If you’re planning on buying a new home sometime in the near future, you may be wondering when the best time of year to buy a home really is. There’s many theories about when the best time of year to buy a home is. It’s widely known that inventory on homes available for sale picks up in spring. That means that inventory increases, but so too does the volume of competition for people who are buying homes. Just because spring is busy, in real estate that doesn’t mean that it’s necessarily the best time to buy.
Spring is, however, a great time to sell your home. The same goes for the summer as the buying frenzy continues right into the fall for most home buyers. As a buyer or a seller, you’ll want to have a good understanding of the housing market no matter what time of year you’re making your property transactions. Whether you’re buying or selling, you’ll want to know how to get the best bang for your buck. While many people are ready for a change after the long winter months, yet, many people can hold out through other times of the year.
The Market Changes With The Seasons
As the seasons change, so too do the number of people selling versus the number of people who are looking to buy. If you don’t mind the competition and know what you’re looking for, any time is a good time to buy. As a buyer, you’ll either be facing low inventory, tough competition, or a combination of the two. If you’re scoping out the type of home you’d like to live in, you’ll want to browse in the spring. Have your pre-approval ready just in case you find a home you love at the right price. If you’re not in a rush, spring shopping can give you a good idea of what’s out there for you. You’ll be able to narrow down the type of home you want and where you’d like to live when the time is right.
There’s Really No Golden Rule For Timing
When it comes to buying and selling real estate, there is no sweet spot during the year as to when you’ll have better luck. Being prepared and understanding the trends in your area are a good start. When you hire the right real estate agent, they can be your advocate throughout the process of either buying or selling. Agents can research different trends from the time of year that properties are sold in a certain neighborhood right through to the correct pricing for a home just like yours or the one you are looking for.
No one should be forced to break the bank to secure a terrific house. However, a first-time homebuyer may be more likely than others to overspend on a residence, particularly if he or she fails to understand the ins and outs of the housing market.
Lucky for you, we're here to teach you what it takes to browse the real estate market effectively so you can find a house that matches your budget.
Now, let's take a look at three tips to help a first-time homebuyer purchase an affordable residence.
1. Examine the Housing Market Closely
Many great houses are available, and a first-time homebuyer should review a broad range of residences closely. By doing so, this homebuyer can establish a price range for his or her home search.
Evaluate the prices of residences that are currently available in your city or town. That way, you can find out what it costs to afford a home that may serve you well both now and in the future.
Also, assess the prices of recently sold residences in your area. With this housing market data in hand, you can find out whether you're about to enter a buyer's market or seller's market and plan accordingly.
2. Get Pre-Approved for a Mortgage
Pre-approval for a mortgage can help you map out a homebuying budget before you enter the real estate market. Thus, getting pre-approved for a mortgage can make a world of difference for any first-time homebuyer, at any time.
To get pre-approved for a mortgage, you'll want to meet with several banks and credit unions in your area. These lenders can teach you about different mortgage options and help you select one that corresponds with your budget.
In addition, be sure to ask plenty of questions about potential mortgage options before you make your final mortgage decision. This will allow you to understand the differences between fixed- and adjustable-rate mortgages and choose a mortgage that can help you avoid the temptation to overspend on a residence.
3. Collaborate with a Real Estate Agent
When it comes to pursuing a house for the first time, don't leave anything to chance. Instead, collaborate with a real estate agent, and you can streamline the process of purchasing an affordable residence.
A real estate agent helps take the guesswork out of looking for residences. He or she will keep you up to date about new houses as they become available and set up home showings on your behalf. Plus, this housing market professional will do whatever it takes to guarantee you can obtain an affordable house that surpasses your expectations.
Perhaps best of all, a real estate agent will help you alleviate stress throughout the homebuying journey. And if you encounter challenging negotiations with a home seller, a real estate agent will step in and help you get the best price for a residence – without exception.
Ready to purchase a house for the first time? Use these tips, and you can acquire an affordable residence that you can enjoy for years to come.