Buying a home should be fun, not stressful. As you look for the right home for you, keep in mind these tips for making the process as smooth as possible.
- Find a real estate agent who you connect with. Home buying is not only a big financial commitment, but also an emotional one. It's critical that the Real Estate Broker you choose is not only highly skilled but also is a good fit with your personality and seeks to understand what is important to you... not just in finding you the right home, but also in your purchasing experience.
- Remember, there's no "right" time to buy, just as there's no perfect time to sell. If you find a home now, don't try to second-guess interest rates or the housing market by waiting longer - you risk losing out on the home of your dreams. The housing market usually doesn't change fast enough to make that much difference in price, and good homes won't stay on the market long.
- Don't ask for too many opinions. It's natural to want reassurance for such a big decision, but too many ideas from too many people will make it much harder to make a decision. Select one or two people to turn to if you feel you need a second opinion, but be ready to make the final decision on your own or with the input of your immediate family - the people who will be living in the home.
- Accept that no house is perfect. It's very rare when someone can buy a home and not have to compromise on something. It may be in the perfect location but not have every feature that you wanted. Make a list of your top priorities and focus in on things that are most important to you. Let the minor ones go.
- Don't try to be a hard nose negotiator. Negotiation is definitely a part of the real estate process, but trying to "win" by getting an extra-low price or refusing to budge on your offer may cost you the home you love. Negotiation is give and take.
- Location, location, location. Don't get so caught up in the physical aspects of the house itself - number of rooms, square footage, kitchen, etc - that you forget about other important issues like noise level, location to amenities, freeway access, and other aspects that also have a big impact on your quality of life.
- Plan ahead. Don't wait until you've found a home and want to make an offer before talking to a mortgage lender, consider your moving time-line or start thinking about selling your current home or lease expiration. Presenting an offer contingent on a lot of unresolved issues will make your bid much less attractive to sellers.
- Factor in maintenance and repair costs in your post-home buying budget. Even if you buy a new home, there will be costs. Don't leave yourself short and let your home deteriorate.
- Accept that a little buyer's remorse is inevitable and will likely pass. Buying a home, especially for the first time, is a big financial commitment. But if also yields big benefits. Don't lose sight of why you wanted to become a home owner and what made you fall in love with the home you purchased.
- Choose a home first because you love it; then think about appreciation. While U.S. homes have appreciated significantly in the last few years, a home's most important role is to serve as a comfortable, safe place to live.
Home Search Tips
- Get pre-approved for a mortgage. This is the first thing to do before starting your home search. Talking with a lender and getting pre-approved will help you determine how much you qualify for (what the bank is willing to lend you) and how much home you can afford (how much you are comfortable paying each month), as well as how much you will need for your downpayment and closing costs. Getting pre-approved before you start looking at homes, will save you the heartache of falling in love with a house that you later find out you can't afford.
- Research before you look. Decide what features you most want to have in a home, what neighborhoods you prefer, and how much you'd be willing to spend each month for housing.
- Be realistic. It's OK to be picky, but don't be unrealistic with your expectations. There's no such thing as a perfect home. Use your list of priorities as a guide to evaluate each property.
- Decide your moving timeline. When is your lease up? Do you have a home you need to sell prior to buying your next home? How tight is the rental market in your area? All of these factors will help you determine when you should move.
- Think long term. Are you looking for a starter house with plans to move up in a few years, or do you hope to stay in this home for a longer period? This decision may dictate what type of home you'll buy as well as the type of mortgage terms that will best suit you.
- Always have a home inspection. A home inspection is to find any significant issues that the seller may not have known about and which may save you from buying a home that has significant (and possibly expensive) issues. Additionally, it will give you the peace of mine that you know exactly what is going on with the home and the real condition it is in when you buy it.
- Get help from a Real Estate Agent. Work with a real estate professional (like Christian Harris) who will represent you and your best interests. Unlike a listing agent, whose first duty is to the seller, a buyer's agent is working only for you and your best interest. Buyer's agents are paid out of the sellers commission payment and therefore it doesn't actually cost you anything as a home buyer to have an agent working for you.
The Significance of Interest Rates
In early 2016, interest rates were still hovering near record lows (just below 4%), but it is anticipated that by the end of 2016, rates will be around 5%. While 5% is still considered low, buyers should realize that waiting to buy as home values and interest rates increase probably doesn't make sense.
As rates increase, the price of the home you can afford will decrease.
With every 1% interest rate increase, you loose approximately $40,000 in purchasing power.
Example: If a P&I mortgage payment of $2,000 bought you a $400,000 home, after a rate increase of 1%, that same payment will now only buy you a $360,000 home.
Why Should I Work With You?
Why should I work with you to help me find and purchase a home? I'm glad you asked.
Every Buyer wants to know 3 things of their agent:
- Can I trust you?
- How are you different than other agents?
- How will you find & get me into my new home?
Click the button below to view a downloadable PDF on the differences in the level of customer service I provide my clients.
Click on the link below to send me a message and let's get to work
or email me at ChristianHarris@Sea-Town.com