Congratulations! You’ve made the decision to buy a house.
Whether this is first home purchase or your first one in a while, here are ten things you need to know about buying a home.
Get your financial house in order. Most home buyers, especially first time home buyers, require a loan to purchase a house. In order to be approved for a loan, borrowers must meet certain criteria such as debt-to-income ratio and minimum credit scores. Step one for the serious home buyer is to work with a lender to get pre-approved for a loan or to find out what steps need to be taken to get approved for financing.
Figure out how much house you can afford. Once a lender deems you credit worthy, you’ll need to figure out how much house you can afford. Do you plan to make a large down payment? Are you comfortable paying PMI? What do you consider a comfortable monthly mortgage payment?
Identify your needs vs. your wants. Is that flat backyard a need or a want? Do you have to have a bonus room or can you use the fourth bedroom as flex space? Some things like a minimum number of bedrooms may be non-negotiable, but other items like granite counters can be added later.
Be willing to compromise. When it comes to your future home, there are going to be some trade-offs based on what features are most important to you. For example, you may need to purchase a home with less square footage to be in your desired neighborhood or school district.
It’s okay to start looking online. All of the listings used to be in a book that only Realtors® had access to. Then the listings became available on MLS. Now you can find every house that’s listed on Realtor.com or on your favorite agency’s website, like www.skyecroftrealtygroup.com.
And to go to Open Houses. Open houses are a great place to find out what’s on the market and to get used to looking at homes in person. Agents love them because they are a great place to meet clients. And if you are a prospective buyer, they are a great place to meet your potential agent. Just be wary because…
Understand Buyer’s and Seller’s Agency. Unless the agent represents you, the buyer, he or she may represent the seller. Before you share any information with an agent that you wouldn’t want a seller to know, first have a conversation with them about different types of agency. In fact, there’s a great handout called “Working With Real Estate Agents” that every broker in NC is required to review with you before having a substantive real estate discussion.
Hire an expert who you trust and get along with. This might be the most important piece of advice. Whether you are buying a new construction home or resale, having someone you trust to guide you through the process is invaluable. Working with someone you like is important, too, as you will be spending a lot of time with your agent.
Don’t get your feelings hurt. Real estate transactions are often emotional for buyers and sellers. In a competitive seller’s market, don’t get your feelings hurt if someone rejects your offer or if they refuse to do every repair on your inspection report. Put yourself in the other party’s shoes and you might not get offended as easily.
Enjoy the ride. You are getting a new home, after all. Remember to relax and have a little fun during the process!
If you’re planning to buy a home and you don’t know where to start, or if you’ve already begun the process and are ready to make a move, contact me to get the ball rolling and guide you through the process.