How can I prepare myself for the buying process?
Buying a home is one of the biggest decisions you’ll make in life. We’ll help to make the purchase of your home as easy as possible and make sure that you feel comfortable every step of the way.
Purchasing a home is exciting but there’s a lot to consider. Take time to define your search parameters like price range, location preference, type of ownership (single family residence, condo), size of property and amenities, if applicable. Prioritize your needs (i.e., space, light, views, schools, etc.) but try to be flexible. In evaluating your budget, know what you can spend on a down payment as well as monthly expenditures like maintenance, real estate taxes, monthly mortgage, utilities, etc. Consult with a mortgage lender to obtain written pre-approval for a loan.
What should I look for in an agent?
Buying a home is not only an important financial decision but a major life decision as well. Nothing says more about who you are or how you live than where you live so you need to make sure that your real estate agent is someone who understands you and your needs. Begin by asking friends who’ve used agents for referrals. Choose a professional who specializes in homes in your price range and desired neighborhood(s); someone who’s available to work on your schedule, who listens to your needs, asks a lot of questions about how you live and takes time to explain things you may not understand. Finding a new home should be an exciting and enjoyable process but it is also time consuming so look for someone whose company you enjoy – you will likely be spending a lot of time together.
How to determine your monthly payments
There are many online Mortgage Calculators to help you figure out what your monthly mortgage payment amount will be. This will give you a better understanding of what price range to look in for the property you want to buy based on your other debt obligations and your income. You’ll need to have some general information to put into the calculator like your interest rate, the amount of the loan, the amount of your down payment, and the length of time you are planning to borrow the money for. The monthly payment shown does not include your property taxes and homeowners insurance.
Should I get pre-approved for a mortgage?
Getting your financing in place before you look for a home will save time and help ensure a smoother transaction. Meet with a mortgage broker to ask questions about the loan process and arrive at a comfortable price range. There are two levels of endorsement during this process – pre-qualification and pre-approval. Pre-qualification means you are potentially qualified for a stated loan amount, assuming full and accurate disclosure, while pre-approval is more appealing to a seller. To get pre-approved, you must provide your mortgage broker with information for a detailed background and financial check (including tax returns, credit check & income history). You’ll then get a letter from the lender stating the amount of your loan. This commitment is usually valid for a limited amount of time.
What to look for at open houses
Open houses are held to showcase a property for sale to the public, and are visited by both serious buyers looking to zero in on a home and browsers who just want something to do on a Sunday afternoon. Some are very crowded while others are more intimate. The real estate agent hosting the open house should have prepared information on the property and be available to answer any questions. For serious buyers, this is a great opportunity to view the home without pressure. Try to look beyond the owner’s décor if it’s not your taste but the home still has great potential for your needs. If you want information on history, comparables, upgrades or other specifics, don’t be afraid to ask. And if you’re interested in a private showing, make an appointment to come back.
Making the Offer
Once you’ve started your search and are working with your agent to preview different properties, it’s important to be aware of the timeline of events that generally take place when you’ve found that perfect home. In most cases, once you decide to make an offer, it can take an average of 60 – 120 days to complete the closing process.
Discuss with your agent how much to offer and leave room to negotiate. Your agent will be able to advise based on how long the property has been on the market, condition of home, other offers that have been presented, and how the asking price compares to recently sold similar properties
Let your agent prepare your offer and apply trained negotiating skills during the buying process. Your agent will advise you of any final negotiating factors that may benefit you in the purchase.
Once your offer is accepted work closely with your agent to gather all necessary materials.