Lynne Morey's Blog
A first-time homebuyer often proceeds cautiously as he or she navigates the real estate market. However, if this homebuyer discovers the "perfect" home, the risk to overspend to acquire this residence may prove to be too much to resist.
It is important for a first-time homebuyer to understand what it takes to purchase a house at a price that matches or exceeds his or her expectations. That way, a homebuyer can avoid the temptation to overspend on a house and reduce the likelihood of breaking his or her homebuying budget.
Now, let's take a look at three tips that a first-time homebuyer can use to minimize the risk of overspending on a house.
1. Assess the Housing Market Closely
The housing market frequently fluctuates, and a first-time homebuyer who identifies real estate patterns and trends may be better equipped than others to pay the right price for a residence.
Having the ability to differentiate between a buyer's market and a seller's market is key. If a homebuyer understands the differences between these markets, he or she should have no trouble submitting a reasonable offer on a house based on the current housing market's conditions.
In a buyer's market, there is an abundance of available houses and a shortage of property buyers. This market favors homebuyers, and as a result, a property buyer may be better equipped than ever before to acquire a great house at an affordable price at this time.
Conversely, a seller's market favors home sellers and includes a shortage of high-quality houses and an abundance of homebuyers. In a seller's market, a homebuyer may need to submit a competitive offer on a house, or he or she likely risks losing a residence to potential rivals.
2. Get Pre-Approved for a Mortgage
Want to stick to a homebuying budget? With a mortgage in hand, a first-time homebuyer will know exactly what he or she can spend on a house and narrow a home search accordingly.
To get pre-approved for a mortgage, a homebuyer should meet with several banks and credit unions. This will allow a homebuyer to learn about all of the mortgage options that are available and choose a mortgage that corresponds to his or her finances.
Also, be sure to ask potential lenders plenty of questions about various mortgage options. By doing so, a homebuyer can boost his or her chances of making an informed mortgage decision.
3. Collaborate with a Real Estate Agent
A real estate agent can help a first-time homebuyer explore houses that fall within a specific price range, thereby reducing the risk that a property buyer will overspend on a house.
In addition, a real estate agent is happy to provide honest, unbiased homebuying recommendations. This housing market professional understands the ins and outs of purchasing a house, and as such, will do everything possible to guarantee a property buyer can acquire a terrific residence at a budget-friendly price.
Avoid the temptation to pay too much to buy your dream house – use these tips, and a first-time homebuyer can seamlessly navigate the property buying journey.
House hunting can be enjoyable but becomes overwhelming pretty quickly. After looking at many different houses, they can all start to look the same. It’s hard to remember what homes had what features. In order to make a right decision on which home to make an offer on, you’ll need to remember the details of each house. Read on for tips to help you house hunt like a pro.
Keep Track Of The Homes You Have Looked At
Whether you’re doing simple online searches or touring open houses, it’s easy for your mind to get jumbled as to what you have seen. It’s a good idea to keep a record of homes with their addresses as to where they are located, the color of the house, and the desirable features contained within the home. This way, you can have an overall picture of what you want.
Know What Features Are Important
You should make a list of everything you’re looking for in a home before you even start searching. Include things like:
- The price range
- How big of a house you’re looking for
- How many bedrooms
- How many bathrooms
- Additional features like walk-in closets
- Eat-in kitchen or dining room
- What type of home you’re looking for
- How many stories you want the home to be
You can then branch off from the essentials on the list adding other desirable features in a property like a pool, a jacuzzi, a large backyard, or a fireplace. Then, you should make a list prioritizing what is the most important to you in your home search. Things like the number of bedrooms and the size of the home will be a higher priority than a jacuzzi tub.
Look At Your Commute
One of the most significant factors in finding a home is how far it is from your workplace. The closer you are to work, the less stressful your life will be. If you take the train or a bus to work, it may be easier to live close to a station or stop. On the flip side, to be closer to work what are you sacrificing? Are you close to schools, parks, stores, and other regularly visited spots? See what locations suit your lifestyle.
Review What You’ve Looked At
Once you have done your research and decided what you need and want, it’s time to make comparisons. Look at the prices of each home and see what they have to offer for the money. Once you decide the price and amenities are on par with your original wishlist, the house is a good candidate to put an offer on.
Where do you start when you first consider purchasing a home? Buyers who are new to the real estate market may not know exactly what they want in a house or where they want to live. While the dream homes found online, in magazines, and on your favorite television show are great resources for design and style, visiting open house events will help you to hone in on features that will best serve your household.
When visiting open houses, follow these tips to make the most of your time:
Allow plenty of time for each house on your list. If the home appeals to you, take a few moments afterward to drive or walk around the neighborhood.
Create a list of must-haves’, likes, and dislikes to help you evaluate each property. Add ideas that appeal to you during each open house experience.
Sign in when you arrive but let the hosting agent know if you’ve already selected a real estate agent.
Dress comfortably. You might climb stairs, descend into basements, visit attics, or walk from house to house in the neighborhood so be sure to wear appropriate clothing and shoes.
As you tour, create a list of questions for your real estate agent to address with the selling agent if you plan to submit an offer.
Do not peek into closets, cupboards, pantries, or drawers if the hosting agent indicates are off-limits. Your agent can arrange an in-depth viewing if you’re the property is one you’d like to pursue.
Take note if you smell deodorizers and air fresheners. They could be masking pet odors or could indicate something more serious. If you’re interested in making an offer, ask your agent for help identifying the source before moving forward.
Respect the seller's privacy by not taking photos without the host’s permission.
Questions related to making an offer and other negotiations should be funneled through your real estate agent. If you’re interested in the property, ask your agent to arrange a follow-up viewing. Make a list of all your questions and follow up with your agent as soon as possible especially if you want to make an offer on the property.
Buying a home may seem like a smart financial move. However, it may not always be the right time or the right move for you. While buying a home is a great investment, you may not be ready to buy a home of your own. The following questions should help you to determine whether or not you are fully ready to buy a house in the near future.
How Much Money Do You Make? How Much Have You Saved?
buying a home is a significant expense. First, you’ll need quite a large sum of money for a downpayment and closing costs on the home. Second, to get approved for a mortgage, the lender will look at every part of your finances from your income to your assets. Once the home is purchased, you’ll also need quite a bit of capital for expenses including insurance, taxes, HOA fees, emergency funds, utilities, and furniture. You don’t want to buy a home only to be overwhelmed with costs. You want enough of a financial cushion to enable you to furnish your home, decorate your home, and not have a completely empty bank account. That’s why you should make sure that you do make enough money to buy a home.
How Much Debt Do You Have?
If you have established that your income is enough to buy a home, the next thing that you need to establish is that your debt isn’t too high. Before you enter into the adventure of homeownership, you’ll need to make sure that your bills are under control. These expenses include things like car loans, student loans, and credit card bills. Your lender will put your debt into consideration as a part of your entire financial picture. Your debt (including your proposed mortgage payment) should be less than around 36% of your gross income. Before you take the leap into buying a home, you’ll need to make sure that your debt is under control. If you need to take a step back and pay your bills down before you start house hunting, you should as it will make buying a home easier for you.
Are You Seasoned At Your Job?
In order to secure a mortgage for a home, you’ll need to show that you have been at the same job for a certain period of time. Your average income will probably be calculated based on how long you have been at the company and your job history. You should be able to explain any income gaps, changes in positions or companies. Otherwise, you’ll appear to be an unstable person to lend to. Lenders want to know that you’ll have a steady, stable income.
How Is Your Credit?
In order to secure a mortgage, you’ll need to have a good credit score. Check on your credit report when you begin thinking about buying a home. If your credit is on the low side, you’ll want to work on bringing that score up.
Buying a home is a lengthy process that requires months or even years of planning. The end result, however, is to have a home you can truly call your own and to own equity that you can then use later down the road.
Figuring out the right time to buy a home can be difficult for prospective homeowners. You’ll need to have a firm grasp on your finances and personal goals for what you want your life to look like for the next 5 or more years.
Buying a home in more than just a financial commitment. It also means you take on all of the responsibilities of owning that home. Maintenance, both inside and out, can take up a significant amount of your time.
Furthermore, owning a home ties you down to one area. You’ll need to determine if you’re ready and able to settle in one area for the next 5-7 years. This has implications for careers and for family life. Will your job bring you elsewhere? If you change jobs, are there ample opportunities where you live? These are just a couple of the questions you’ll need to ask yourself before deciding whether you’re ready to buy a home.
To simplify the process, I’ve created a checklist for some of the things you’ll need before you’re ready to buy a home. While this list does cover the basics, there may be other factors unique to your circumstances that you’ll have to take into consideration.
So, if you’re thinking about buying a home sometime in the near future, read on for the checklist. And, keep in mind that these are not necessarily mandatory before buying a home. But they will give you the best chance of making a solid investment and securing financial stability.
The home buyer’s preparedness checklist
Raise your credit score to 750 or more. A score in the “excellent” range will help you get the lowest possible interest rate on your mortgage. It’s possible to get approved for a mortgage with a score that is much lower, but a high score is ideal and can help you avoid PMI and a high interest rate.
Have an emergency fund saved. You don’t want to buy a house and then suddenly find yourself needing money for an emergency. Save a month’s worth of expenses before your down payment.
Have an active budget plan for saving up your down payment. Creating a dedicated savings account that you automatically have a portion of your pay deposited into is a good way to ensure that you meet your savings goals.
Bolster the case for your financial stability. Lenders will want to see that your income is predictable and regular. Keep records of your income, tax returns, and anything else that can help show that you’re making more than enough money to safely lend to.
Have open conversations with your family. If you’ll be buying a home with a spouse and/or children, discuss what you’re looking for in a home. This can include location, size, etc. It’s a good idea for everyone to be on the same page before you ever start shopping for a home.
Get preapproved. Getting preapproved for a home loan will make you a better prospective buyer in the eyes of sellers.
Run the numbers again. Aside from your mortgage payments, you’ll also have to pay utilities, trash removal, property taxes, and any other expenses related to the home. Make sure you can comfortably afford these while still contributing to savings.