Take 5 & Breathe
Smart Reasons To Pause Before You Buy A Home
Today’s homebuying market is a busy and active one. You might believe that if you wait for even a second, you could miss the home of your dreams. The truth, though, could be different: If you do not take a breather, you might miss that dream home for completely preventable reasons! We’ve seen it happen before, but we don’t want it to happen to you.
What do you mean, take a breather?
When we suggest stepping back a moment, we mean for you to gather your thoughts, get educated, and make smart moves. If you’re prepared before you start house hunting, you’re more likely to know what your real estate needs and wants are, exactly what your budget is, what location fits your family best, and have your finances arranged when you sign that purchase offer. When everything is lined up and ready to go, you can fully focus on finding the best home, for the best price, in the best location.
What do I gain by slowing down?
You won’t make a costly mistake in the heat of negotiation. You won’t lose a home because you don’t have financing pre-arranged. You won’t be disappointed touring homes that your budget doesn’t allow you to afford. You won’t be surprised by unexpected loan fees that bust your budget. Buying a home doesn’t have to be complicated or hurried. Keep reading to learn how to breathe deeply and make a great real estate decision that you can live with for the long-term.
Calculate Your Exact Budget Know exactly how much you are comfortable spending. Before you visit your mortgage lender, get all your finances in order. Organize documents and figure out your monthly budget-how much money is coming in and where it is being spent. This will help you determine how much money you have available every month for a mortgage payment and other house-related expenses. Remember, most lenders want your debt-to-income ratio (not including your estimated new mortgage payment) to be no more than 33%. Once you have a budget created, you are ready to apply for a mortgage.
Get Pre-Approved for a Mortgage Secure mortgage dollars. If you’re a regular reader of our newsletter, you’ve noticed how often we encourage homebuyers to get preapproved for a mortgage. This requires more work than a simple pre-qualification (providing documentation, filling out a mortgage application, etc.), but once the process is done you will know exactly how much money a lender will give you for a house. And with that pre-approval letter in hand, home sellers will view your purchase offer more positively as your offer is more likely to close with financing already secured. Now you’re almost ready to start house hunting.
Determine Needs Vs. Wants Sit down and make a list. Everyone wants their dream home to be spacious and light-filled, contain just the right number of bedrooms and baths, have perfect outdoor space, offer great parking accommodations and more. However, before you start house hunting determine-with your family’s input-what your next home needs to have. This will separate out the wants (that is, negotiable and would-be-nice features) from what you must have in your next home. This list will help you narrow down the selection of homes to visit, making your touring more efficient.
Pinpoint Your Location Discover where you want to buy a home. Get to know the area(s) where you are considering buying. Drive through them on weekdays, weekends, rush hour, etc. Take walks and tour the area, making it a point to talk to people. Do your research to confirm taxing bodies, local elected officials, public school boundaries, access to public transportation, etc. Once you zero in on area(s) that appeal most to you (and fit your budget), then you are ready to start house hunting.
Be Patient Take time to gather all this vital information. Then focus on the home you need and negotiate only to the price points that fit your budget and loan. With a successful purchase offer in place, you’ll be able to reflect on what is likely to be the biggest purchase of your life and feel good that you’re making an informed decision. And don’t forget to work with a professional-like us-to walk you through the homebuying process, every step of the way.