Friday, January 31, 2020 / by John Schlanbusch
The first month of 2020 is about to come to an end. Did you make any resolutions? How many of you decided that THIS was the year you were going to finally buy a home? If so, what are you doing about that? Looking at Zillow and Redfin every night before you go to bed doesn’t count. Not if you really want to buy. If you have never done this before, there are a few things you should definitely know and prepare for before embarking on the wonderful road to home ownership.
1. WHAT?- The first question, while it may seem obvious, isn’t always the case. What type of house do you need for your needs? Are stairs an issue? Do you need a large lot, three car garage etc. If your needs are simple, then lucky you! Most people have specific needs for their individual lifestyle and sometimes it isn’t always easy to find.
2. WHEN? This is important for a multitude of reasons mainly because the market changes so frequently. If you want to buy in 6 months to a year, the prices and market conditions could be vastly different from where they are now. The main reason this is so important is because it takes time to prepare to buy a house. That house you saw last night on Zillow could have 5 offers on it before you have even had your first cup of coffee. If you are not prepared, you won’t stand a chance in a multiple offer situation. The best thing to do before you start browsing the internet for homes is start researching mortgage lenders.
3. WHERE?- Ahh the almighty word, location. If you have ever heard anything about Real Estate you have heard this. It is why homes with stunning views on tree lined streets that look like they came out of a magazine will always be desirable to most people. That said, the better the area, also typically means the higher the price. Desirable areas can be driven by many things, weather, natural beauty of the area itself, school districts, proximity to industries, social activities, restaurants, etc. Know the prices of the areas that speak to you so you know what to expect. Often times you may need to readjust and broaden your search.
4. WHY?- This is my favorite question for buyers and in my opinion the most important. Why are you doing this? Is it a job relocation, down sizing or need more space? The reasons are endless and always unique to the individual. The answer to this question will determine how smooth your escrow process goes as well. If your needs are for personal issues or time sensitive you should consider getting help from a professional to guide you through this detailed process. If the individual you choose to help you is compassionate to your needs and fully understands your ultimate goal then you are that much further ahead.
5. HOW?- If you are one of the few people who have disposable cash on hand to buy any house you want then you are extremely lucky and rare. The reality is, most of us need to acquire a loan to purchase a home. This process can take time as mentioned before. You want to speak with a few different mortgage brokers and banks to help illustrate the best loan option for you. How much do you need to put down? What paperwork will be required of you? How long do you need to be at your job before you can apply? What is your credit score and why does that matter? Are you eligible for a VA or FHA loan? All of this and more will need to be addressed. Once approved you are now ready actively start looking at homes. This is where the help of a real estate professional is so imperative. They know the market better than anyone and can help guide you when it comes to presenting your offer. They will send you listings that come on the market immediately, and have the inside scoop on things hitting the market in the near future. In a competitive market you want someone who can not only sell your offer but can sell you too, meaning providing an approval letter with the offer from your chosen lender, explaining your specific needs for the property, your job history etc. A real estate agent also knows local laws, county guidelines, the necessary inspections you will need as well as all the required contracts and documentation from the state to buy and sell a house.
If you have already taken some of these preliminary steps then you are off the right start for home ownership in 2020! If you need assistance with any of the above or just have a question, we are here to help!