The key to home buying success is preparation. This is especially true in the summer months when the market heats up and competition gets fierce. With a little prep-work, home buying during the busiest season of the year can still work out.
Whether it’s your first or fifteenth time, the key to home buying success is preparation. This is especially true in the summer months when the market heats up, and competition gets fierce. Luckily, with a little prep-work, home buying during the busiest season of the year can still work out. Here are six ways to be prepared.
1. Know What You Want
Aside from the “wish-list” items you would love to see in your new home, like granite countertops or an updated garage, knowing the basics of what you need in a home will help narrow your search from the beginning. If you want a short commute to work, it helps to know what kind of homes exist in your chosen radius and whether those meet your needs. Researching an area to determine what amenities such as schools, restaurants, or outdoor activities are available can help you know where to start. From there, you can compile a list of other items that are important to you.
2. Know What You Can Afford
Many homebuyers enter the market thinking they can afford much more than they actually can. Before getting to the fun part of viewing homes, buyers need to be realistic about their financial situation, including their credit score, debt-to-income ratio, and a basic understanding of how home loans are calculated. What amortization is best for you? What if interest rates go up? How much do I have to set aside for closing costs? Home buying is much more than the final purchase price — it is ensuring that the biggest investment you will make is protected.
3. Get Pre-Approved
Once you’ve settled the basics of what you think you can afford, the smartest move is to visit your lender and get a mortgage pre-approval, especially in a competitive market. Obtaining a pre-approval shows sellers that you are serious about making a purchase — something that could put you ahead if pitted against other, less prepared, buyers.
4. Find an Agent
There really is no better resource to help you meet your needs than a qualified real estate agent. A local agent who knows the area can be a valuable asset if you aren’t familiar with an area, and can help you zero-in on a property that is perfect for you. Do your research and know what to look for in a great agent — after all, they are there to look after your best interests, so choosing one you are comfortable with is the most important step.
5. Know What You Can Live Without
Every buyer wants to find the perfect home that will tick all the boxes, but the reality of home buying can be a little more jarring. Know how to tell the difference between wants and needs to avoid getting caught up during your search. All home buying requires compromise, so knowing what you can live without — and sticking to it, will help you meet your goals and buy a house that’s on budget.
6. Don’t Rule Anything Out
This is where a good agent will come in handy. Don’t dismiss any property if it doesn’t look picture perfect over the Internet. Often a home needs to be viewed in person to get an accurate view of the area, yard, or room sizes. Your agent is there to help you find the right house for you, so if they find a contender, take a chance and have a look. Who knows? You just may end up finding the home of your dreams.