Buying a new home is a complex process that includes finding the right property, securing financing, and closing on the sale. It also involves planning and preparation. Consider whether you prefer to live in an apartment, condo, or house and the type of neighborhood that fits your lifestyle. Explore the area at different times of the day to determine noise levels, traffic patterns, and cell phone coverage.
Meet with a Realtor
Choosing the right realtor might be crucial whether you’re buying or selling. Ask for recommendations from friends and family, and interview several to find the best fit for your needs. Some agents specialize in specific areas or price ranges, and you want to ensure they have experience with your particular goals. It’s also good to see how quickly they respond to your inquiries and questions. A well-connected agent will often hear about new listings before they hit the market and may be able to get you in to see them sooner. They’ll also have connections with lenders and contractors like Fretwell Homes, which can make the entire process smoother and more accessible. During your first meeting, an experienced Realtor will also discuss the local market and how that affects buying and selling trends. They’ll also be able to recommend ways to boost a home’s value and help it sell more quickly. Having this knowledge can save you time and money.
Get Pre-Approved for a Mortgage
One of the most critical steps in the home-buying process is getting pre-approved for a mortgage. It can assist you in ascertaining how much you can afford to spend on a home and enhance your appeal to sellers as a buyer. When you get pre-approved, lenders verify your income and debts, perform a credit check, and review other documents. You can often do this online or over the phone. If you are self-employed, you may need to provide additional documentation or undergo a more in-depth financial audit.
A lender will typically issue you a letter with an estimated loan amount and interest rate, which you can use to narrow down your house hunt and avoid looking at top-dollar homes outside your budget. Getting pre-approved can also save you time and money in the long run by speeding up the mortgage process once you find your new home. You can renew your preapproval by providing updated documentation and undergoing another credit check.
Start Your Search
Whether you are shopping online or in person with the help of an experienced real estate agent, it’s essential to start the home search early and understand local market trends. A competent realtor can also assist you in limiting your search and figuring out what you can afford. As you begin to look, list your must-haves and nice-to-haves. If there’s a feature you want but can’t afford, you should reconsider your criteria or consider a lower-priced property.
Consider how long you plan to live in the new home. For example, a location near schools is essential if you plan to have children. Finally, remember that mortgage lenders will review your savings and income with a fine-tooth comb. Sudden or inexplicable purchases could raise red flags and delay or halt your loan approval. Therefore, avoiding shopping for furniture or making large credit card purchases is best until you’re under contract and ready to move in.
Make an Offer
You can get help from your real estate agent in getting a bid ready to submit. It will include a monetary offer, any contingencies you’re adding (such as requiring a home inspection or reviewing the property’s title history), your earnest money amount, and an estimated timeline for closing. The prevailing market conditions will affect how competitive your offer is. For example, in hot areas where the supply of homes for sale exceeds demand, a full-price offer is more likely to be accepted than an under-priced one.
Comparable local listings, or comps, are a helpful tool that your real estate agent can use to help you decide how much to offer. They can also use the property’s sales history, neighborhood trends, and goals to help you find a reasonable price point. Before you finalize your purchase, be sure to drive by the house at different times of day and night and do a walk-through. Being confident the location fits your lifestyle, commute, and other factors is essential.