Shawn Sullivan, CRS's Blog
The more you know about the process of buying a house, the better prepared you'll be for doing it successfully.
How might you define "success" when it comes to purchasing a home?
There are a lot of standards that could be applied to successfully navigating the home buying process, but here are a few that immediately come to mind:
- Finding the house of your dreams: While very few people find a home that is absolutely perfect in every way, it is possible to come close to achieving that ideal. Although a certain amount of flexibility goes a long way, knowing what you want and prioritizing important features are among the main prerequisites to getting what you want. As baseball legend Yogi Berra once said, "If you don't know where you are going, you'll end up someplace else." Thanks to the variety of websites devoted to home ownership, home decorating, remodeling, and landscaping, it's easy to find pictures online that can help inspire your imagination and clarify exactly what the house of your dreams might look like.
- Minimizing setbacks and frustrations: The process of house hunting is a journey that often involves bumpy roads, detours, and dead ends. One secret to getting through it successfully is to work with an experienced real estate agent who knows the ropes and can keep you on track. It also helps to approach house hunting with a sense of optimism, resourcefulness, and commitment. Although you probably have a lot of competing priorities in your life, finding a house that you and your family will be happy in for the next few years deserves a top spot on your list!
- Avoiding unpleasant surprises: Knowing your credit score and understanding the impact it will have on getting loan approval and a favorable interest rate will help prepare you for the financial side of buying a house. The ability to get prequalified for a mortgage and come up with sufficient down payment will also set the stage for a successful home buying experience. On the plus side, a higher down payment can potentially result in a lower interest rate and not having to pay private mortgage insurance (A 20% down payment is necessary to avoid PMI.) Since many loan programs and lenders require at least a 3-5% down payment, that can be a stumbling block for first-time home buyers. To purchase a $200,000 home, for example, you'd need to come up with a cash outlay of between $6,000 to $10,000 -- not an easy feat for everyone!
It doesn’t matter if you’re moving down the street or across the country, moving into a new neighborhood can be hard. You want to make your new property, and new area feel like home. Relocation is always a challenge. There are a few things you can do to make the transition smoother for your family. Meeting people and learning about your new community doesn’t have to be a huge ordeal. Read on for tips to make it fun!
Approach Your Neighbors
It can be kind of scary to approach your new neighbors, but reaching out to them is one of the best ways to meet people. If you see your neighbors out and about give them a wave or shout “hello.” These gestures are a way to extend yourself without intruding on them. Ask questions about the neighborhood like when the trash pickup is or how the traffic on a local route is. You can even find out where the best grocery store to shop at is. Anything simple can open up a great conversation.
It’s easy to meet up with your neighbors if you give them an opportunity to see you. Sit out on your porch. Go for a walk around the neighborhood. Spend some time outside gardening. Just be approachable. If you’re cheerful and seem a bit inquisitive about the area, people will be more likely to talk to you.
Spend Time In The Community
If there’s a local diner or coffee shop, spend some time there. You’ll be more likely to meet your neighbors and have something in common with many of the people that live in your new space. Check out local parks with your kids or bring your dog. You can talk to other dog owners or parents and get to know them.
Finding ways to volunteer and get involved in your community is also a great way to connect and get to know where you live.
Other Ways To Get Involved
You can get connected with people in the area through connections you have. College alumni networks can connect you with social clubs in a new city or region. Your employer may also have mentoring programs to assist you through the transition
Moving to a new area can be hard, but with an open mind to opportunities, you can make the transition pleasant for both you and your family.
Before you launch a home search, it helps to prepare for the property buying journey as much as possible. Fortunately, there are many things you can do to get ready to find your dream house.
Now, let's take a look at three tips to help you prep for a home search.
1. Establish Homebuying Criteria
If you know you want to buy a home, it generally is a good idea to define your ideal residence as well. That way, you can streamline your house search.
Consider where you want to reside. For example, if you work in the city, you may want to focus on houses in or near the city itself. On the other hand, if you plan to return to school, you may want to search for a home near top colleges and universities.
Think about what features you want in your ideal home, too. If you have always wanted to own a home that boasts a luxurious outdoor swimming pool, for instance, you can map out your home search accordingly. Or, if you want to purchase a residence that features a state-of-the-art kitchen, you can search for a home that offers this amenity.
2. Get Pre-Approved for a Mortgage
A mortgage typically is a must-have, regardless of where and when you search for a home. And if you enter the housing market with a mortgage at your disposal, you will know precisely how much you can spend on a residence.
Getting pre-approved for a mortgage can be simple. If you meet with banks and credit unions in your area, you can review your options and select a mortgage that complements your finances.
If you have concerns about home financing, don't hesitate to ask questions. Banks and credit unions employ courteous, diligent mortgage specialists who can respond to your home financing queries. As such, you can work with these specialists to gain the home financing insights you need to make the best-possible mortgage decision.
3. Hire a Real Estate Agent
As you get set to conduct a home search, there is no need to work alone. If you hire a real estate agent, you can collaborate with a homebuying expert who can take the guesswork out of finding and purchasing a house.
A real estate agent is happy to provide guidance throughout the homebuying journey. He or she can offer tips and recommendations to ensure you can find a terrific home at a price that matches your budget. Plus, a real estate agent will simplify the process of setting up home showings. Perhaps best of all, if you are uncertain about whether to submit an offer to purchase a home, a real estate agent is ready to provide insights to help you analyze all of your options.
Dedicate time and resources to prepare for the homebuying journey. By doing so, you can enter the housing market with the insights you need to succeed.
Ready to acquire your dream house? Before you embark on a home search, it often helps to establish a homebuying wish list. That way, you can narrow your house search and discover your dream home without delay.
Now, let's take a look at three factors to consider as you craft your homebuying wish list.
1. Home Size
Home sizes vary. As such, you'll want to consider your living situation closely to ensure you can find a house in a size that suits you perfectly.
Remember, a three-bedroom house may be too big for a single person. Much in the same vein, a one-bedroom home is unlikely to meet the needs of a family of five. But if you consider your living situation ahead of time, you can determine what size home to buy.
2. Home Location
Do you want to own a house that is located just minutes from your office in the city? Or, would you prefer a home in a small town? Think about where you want to live, and you can tailor your home search accordingly.
Keep in mind that home prices will vary based on location. Oftentimes, houses in or near major cities are more expensive than similar homes in small towns. At the same time, homes close to top schools or attractions may prove to be more expensive than others.
3. Home Exterior and Interior Features
Consider the home exterior and interior features that you want – you'll be glad you did. If you evaluate home exterior and interior must-haves, you can create priorities as you search for your dream house.
For instance, buying a house that features a central air unit may be a top priority if you plan to relocate to a warm-weather region. On the other hand, you might want to purchase a house that features an in-ground swimming pool, but you can live without this outdoor amenity if necessary.
A homebuying wish list is essential, regardless of where you choose to pursue houses. In addition, if you require extra help as you get ready to enter the housing market, you may want to employ a real estate agent.
With a real estate agent at your side, you can boost your chances of acquiring a top-notch house at a budget-friendly price. A real estate agent will allocate the necessary time and resources to learn about your homebuying goals. Then, this housing market professional can help you streamline your home search.
Furthermore, a real estate agent will provide expert assistance throughout the homebuying journey. He or she will set up home showings, help you submit offers on homes and handle homebuying negotiations. And if you ever have homebuying questions, a real estate agent is happy to respond to them at any time.
Make your dream of purchasing a home come true – consider the aforementioned factors, and you can create a wish list to help you accomplish your homebuying goals.
For those who want to enjoy a seamless homebuying experience, it helps to prepare accordingly. That way, you will be ready to identify and address any hurdles that come your way during the homebuying journey.
Ultimately, there are lots of things you can do to avoid a complex homebuying journey, such as:
1. Establish Homebuying Criteria
If you enter the housing market with homebuying criteria in hand, you can search for residences that match your expectations. Best of all, you may be better equipped than ever before to streamline your quest to find and acquire your dream home.
To craft homebuying criteria, think about what you require from a house. For instance, if you need a home that is located near your office in the city, you can hone your house search to residences in or near the city itself. On the other hand, if you want a home that offers two or more bedrooms, you can search for a house that provides the space you need.
You may want to create a list of home must-haves, too. This list may help you simultaneously narrow your home search and speed up the homebuying journey.
2. Know Your Homebuying Budget
There is no need to focus on homes that fall outside your price range. Instead, develop a homebuying budget, and you can avoid the risk of wasting time pursuing a house that you are unable to afford.
Oftentimes, it helps to meet with banks and credit unions before you launch a home search. These financial institutions can teach you about different home financing options so you can develop an effective property buying budget.
Banks and credit unions can help you get pre-approved for a mortgage as well. Once you have a mortgage in hand, you will know precisely how much you can spend to acquire your ideal residence.
3. Collaborate with a Real Estate Agent
Let's face it – no one wants to encounter roadblocks during the homebuying journey. Fortunately, real estate agents are available in cities and towns nationwide, and these homebuying experts are happy to help you achieve your desired results.
A real estate agent can offer comprehensive insights into the homebuying journey. He or she also can help you conduct an in-depth home search, set up house showings and much more.
In addition, a real estate agent understands the challenges associated with buying a house. He or she will help you alleviate stress throughout the homebuying journey and ensure you can make informed decisions along the way. Plus, a real estate agent is ready to provide homebuying recommendations and suggestions at your request.
When it comes to navigating the homebuying journey, you may want to start planning today. Thanks to the aforementioned tips, you can map out a successful homebuying journey. And as a result, you can boost the likelihood of purchasing a house that will serve you well both now and in the future.