Tina McManus' Blog
Buying a house is never a simple decision. Aside from all of the financial aspects of purchasing a home, there are numerous life-related considerations you’ll need to think about. So, it comes as little surprise that diving head on into the house hunting process can be stressful and taxing to the home buyer.
With all of the different numbers to keep track of--a down payment, closing costs, credit scores, interest rates, and so on--it’s easy to get lost in the finer details of your budget. This can lead to even more stress as you try to navigate your way through getting approved for a mortgage and shopping for the perfect home.
In this article, we’re going to give you some tips on how to maintain your budget and reduce stress throughout the home buying process. That way, when you do finally find the house you’ve been waiting for, you’ll be able to move forward confidently.
Trust the process
Many first-time home buyers enter the real estate market with little knowledge or experience of how things work. Any newcomer to such a huge and complex industry is bound to be flustered with all of the different options available to them.
However, much of the home buying process is relatively standardized. Real estate agents all make roughly the same commission, lenders use similar algorithms to decide how much of a loan you’ll be approved for, and real estate contracts contain legal safeguards and contingencies to ensure that you and the seller’s interests are protected.
When shopping for a mortgage or getting pre-approved, it’s a good idea to ask friends, family, or read reviews online to find someone you know you can trust. From there, rely on the experts to lead you through the process.
Have a long-term plan
Much of the stress and anxiety around buying a home comes from the uncertainty of the future. Sitting down with your family and significant other and deciding your long-term goals for homeownership is a good way to build confidence and know that you’re making the right choice.
Determining things like location, the number of years you want to live in a home, and what priorities are the most important (school districts, neighborhood safety, etc.) will help you make that plan a reality.
Use the tools at your disposal
If you’re reading this article, you already have started to take advantage of one of the most important resources you have, the internet. Look up real estate terminology you’re unfamiliar with, read up on the different types of mortgages, and take advantage of free online calculators to create what-if scenarios to find out what you might end up paying in closing costs and interests.
It’s also a good idea to check your credit score for free online. You can check your official reports once per year, but for simple credit checks you can look it up each month for free.
Knowing that you’re in good hands with a lender and agent, that you have a basic understanding of industry terms, that you have a long-term plan, and that your finances are in order will all help set your mind at ease and give you confidence as you move forward toward homeownership.
Buying a home represents a life-changing decision. As such, you'll want to look beyond the price of a residence as you search for your dream house.
Ultimately, there are many factors beyond price that you should consider as you pursue your ideal residence, including:
1. A Home's Location
For most homebuyers, a house's location is the number one factor when they explore the real estate market, and perhaps it is easy to understand why.
Finding a home in a location that is convenient for you is priceless. And if you know how to conduct a comprehensive home search, you can quickly discover a high-quality home in a wonderful location.
As you prepare to kick off your home search, consider whether you'd like to live in a city or town. This will enable you to narrow your home search.
You also may want to consider homes that are located near work or school. By doing so, you can ensure that you won't have to travel too far to get to destinations that you frequently visit.
2. A Home's Condition
A home may look like a great investment at first, but its condition may have deteriorated over time. Thus, you'll want to take a close look at a house's condition before you finalize a home purchase.
Typically, a homebuyer will complete a property inspection after a home seller accepts an offer on a residence. This inspection will enable a homebuyer to perform an in-depth assessment of a residence and learn about its strengths and weaknesses. Then, a homebuyer can determine whether to move forward with a home acquisition.
If a property inspector discovers myriad issues that impact a home's condition, a homebuyer may want to reconsider his or her offer. At this point, a homebuyer can still walk away from a home purchase. Or, a homebuyer can ask the home seller to complete various home improvements as well.
On the other hand, a homebuyer who falls in love with a house may choose to proceed with a home purchase, regardless of the residence's condition. If you choose this option, however, it is important to consider the potential long-term ramifications of your decision.
3. Your Future
It is paramount for a homebuyer to find a house that he or she can enjoy for years to come. Therefore, a homebuyer should consider his or her future before finalizing a home purchase.
For example, if you plan to settle down and start a family, you may want to evaluate houses that are close to schools. Conversely, if you eventually want to work in the big city, you may want to consider homes that will make it easy to commute into the city day after day.
Don't forget to hire a real estate agent to help you during the homebuying journey too. With a real estate agent at your side, you should have no trouble examining a broad range of top-notch houses that won't force you to break your budget.
A home showing may prove to be a life-changing event, and for good reason. If a homebuyer attends a showing and likes what he or she sees, it may be only a matter of time before this individual submits an offer to acquire a residence. As such, it is important to prepare for a home showing to ensure a buyer can fully evaluate a house and determine whether it is the ideal choice.
Ultimately, there are many reasons why homebuyers should put together a list of questions prior to a home showing, and these reasons include:
1. You can attend a home showing with a strategy in place.
A home listing usually includes information about a house's age and condition. However, few homebuyers are willing to submit an offer on a house based on a listing alone. But if you use a home listing to prepare questions before a showing, you can attend a showing with a plan in place to pursue your dream residence.
Oftentimes, it helps to prepare a list of general questions about a home. You then can review this list in conjunction with a home listing and determine which questions are answered in the listing itself. If you find assorted questions are still unanswered in the listing, you should not hesitate to find answers to these questions when you attend a showing.
2. You can gain deep insights into a house's condition.
Preparing a list of questions prior to a home showing may enable you to gain the insights that you need to make the best-possible decision about a house. And in most instances, you can never prepare too many questions to ensure that you can make an informed decision about a house.
Remember, buying a house is a major decision. If you put together a list of questions before a home showing, you can help take the guesswork out of deciding whether to submit an offer on a home.
3. You may be able to speed up the homebuying process.
The homebuying cycle may prove to be long and complicated, particularly for a homebuyer who is uncertain about how to proceed. With a list of questions in hand, you can attend a home showing and gain expert insights right away. Meanwhile, these insights can help you decide whether a house is right for you.
As you get ready for a home showing, you may want to consult with a real estate agent as well. A real estate agent is happy to help you craft a list of questions prior to a home showing. Also, this housing market professional can keep you up to date about houses that match your homebuying criteria, help you submit offers on homes and much more.
When it comes to home showings, it helps to plan ahead as much as possible. If you prepare a list of questions prior to your next showing, you should have no trouble evaluating a house.
Want to make your homeownership dream a reality? Get pre-approved for a mortgage, and a first-time homebuyer can move closer than ever before to acquiring his or her ideal residence.
Ultimately, there are many reasons to receive pre-approval for a mortgage, including:
1. You can establish a realistic homebuying budget.
Entering the housing market for the first time can be challenging. In fact, many first-time homebuyers struggle to establish realistic expectations before they begin their home search. And as a result, these homebuyers may end up spending too much for a house.
Fortunately, getting pre-approved for a mortgage enables a homebuyer to enter the real estate market with a budget in hand. This ensures a homebuyer can avoid the temptation to overspend on a residence.
Pre-approval for a mortgage also allows a homebuyer to map out his or her homebuying journey. With a plan in place, this homebuyer may be better equipped than others to acquire a top-notch residence that matches or exceeds his or her expectations.
2. You can speed up the homebuying journey.
Although a first-time homebuyer can always submit an offer on a home without a mortgage in hand, doing so may be tricky. In some cases, it may even slow down the homebuying process, especially if a homebuyer has to allocate significant time and resources to find a mortgage lender.
On the other hand, a homebuyer who gets pre-approved for a mortgage should have no trouble accelerating the property buying cycle. This homebuyer will know exactly how much money is at his or her disposal, and as a result, can speed up the homebuying journey.
3. You can gain a competitive advantage over rival homebuyers.
In many instances, a home seller may be more likely to accept a proposal from a first-time homebuyer who has been pre-approved for a mortgage versus an offer from a buyer who still needs to obtain a mortgage.
A homebuyer who has a mortgage likely won't have to wait too long to acquire a house. Conversely, a homebuyer who needs to apply for a mortgage after an offer has been submitted may need to wait many weeks or months to complete a home sale.
Clearly, there are many great reasons for a first-time homebuyer to receive pre-approval for a mortgage. For homebuyers who want to ensure the best results possible, it certainly helps to collaborate with an experienced real estate agent too.
An experienced real estate agent understands the ins and outs of the housing market and will do whatever it takes to help a homebuyer streamline the property buying journey. This housing market professional will set up home showings and negotiate with a home seller on a property buyer's behalf. Plus, he or she is happy to provide honest, unbiased recommendations to help a homebuyer make his or her homeownership dream come true.
Take the next step to acquire your dream residence – get pre-approved for a mortgage today, and a first-time homebuyer can get the necessary financing to purchase his or her ideal house.
As incredible the act of purchasing a home is, many buyers end up regretting their purchase. There’s a variety of reasons for this. It all comes down to being ill-informed about buying a home and the type of home needed for the most liable situation. Read on to find out some of the biggest regrets home buyers face and how to avoid them.
Buying Too Small Of A Home
The most prominent regret that many buyers face is not buying a larger property. Many people want to live in a specific location or type of home that they overlook the size altogether. One reason that people end up buying a home that’s the wrong size is that they rush to find a property in a particular area. If you branch out on your search, you’ll have a better shot at finding the right size home. The area might not matter as much as the space you’re living in, s keep that in mind.
Not Doing Your Research
People tend to skip out on the research phase of buying a home. It’s critical that buyers understand things like mortgage rates, fees, credit reports, how much needs to be saved, and more. There are so many things that go into buying a home that you could easily miss out on something if you don’t know what you’re in for ahead of time.
Not Saving Enough
Your home will be one of the largest purchases you make in your entire life. There is a lot more to the cost than just the monthly mortgage payment. You’ll need a lot of money upfront when you buy a home including a downpayment along with other closing costs and fees. Plus, you’ll need to set some money aside for any repairs or replacements you need to do in the home once you move in. It’s also a good idea to have an emergency fund available just in case. Life happens, and you don’t want your savings to be depleted because you bought a house.
Keep in mind that the bigger of a downpayment you make, the better off you’ll be. Even if you can buy a home with a low downpayment, you want to put down as much as possible. A higher downpayment will keep your mortgage payments lower, get you a better rate, and you may even be able to avoid paying for PMI (private mortgage insurance.) Aim to save a 20 percent down payment for the most optimal mortgage situation.