Are you thinking of buying a home this Spring? If yes, here are ten tips to get you moving in the right direction.
They come from 22 years of experience, helping home buyers just like you find the right home here in the Baltimore Metro Area.
10 Tips To Get You Started on Buying a House This Spring
1. Meet with a mortgage lender.
This is critical, especially in today's real estate market. Meet with a mortgage lender, know what you can afford before you go out shopping for a home and fall in love with the house that is out of your budget.
As much as the paperwork and finances may not be the most exciting part of the house-hunting process, don't put them off or overlook them. Having an understanding of money and your loan options will greatly reduce your stress later.
If you need a referral for a lender, ask your Realtor. A good Realtor can give you referrals. Go local when you can.
You want to meet with a lender face to face, not online. That's the best way to understand the details of your loan options, and ensure your questions are answered thoroughly and quickly. No two buyers are the same and you want personal attention when it comes to your loan.Buying A Home In The Baltimore Area? Go Local!
2. Be realistic about how much house you can afford to buy.
Yes, get excited about buying your first home; also, be realistic. Once you have met with a knowledgeable and experienced lender, you may have to adjust your expectations a bit. That is ok. You want to be able to eat, pay your bills and have a life in addition to paying your mortgage. So sometimes you need to adjust down a bit.
It's important for a first time home buyer to view this first home as a stepping stone; it's a first investment in your real estate investment portfolio. Perhaps you can find a home that you can live in for 3-5 years and then keep and rent out while you move up. A sound first home can be the stepping stone to your first investment property and some future cash flow.>> 17 Questions To Ask A Property Management Company Before Hiring One
3. Go online and get educated as to what your money can buy. Learn about the neighborhood.
Check out neighborhoods, schools, commute times and whatever is most important to you. Visit a neighborhood at various times, during the day, night and on weekends.
Really get a feel for what it is like to live there. However, keep an open mind. As good as online information is, it is limited and often biased and incomplete.
Get educated but keep your mind open as new information comes to you.
4. Make no big life or financial changes!
Now is not the time to make any big changes in your life or in your financial portfolio. Stay in your job, don't buy a new car, don't make any big changes in your financial portfolio that would make a lender doubt your stability or question your financial situation.
We often see people buy furniture and cars in anticipation of the move; this can severely alter your lender ratios. Don't do anything without consulting with your lender first!
5. Know the Details of Your Current Housing Situation.
When does your lease expire? What is the notice provision? When does your new job start? Do you have a relocation package and what are the terms? Know the details so you can communicate these terms to your lender and Realtor so they can put the correct terms in your purchase offer.
You may have to give a bit, sometimes dates do not exactly line up, but by knowing your dates and details, you can plan accordingly and substantially decrease your stress level.
6. Find a great Realtor to help you buy a home!
You've done your soul searching and homework. Now it's time to find your Realtor - your partner in this process and the expert who will help you make sense of the process and all of the information.
"Information alone has no value; you have to add value to the information."
So find a Realtor who listens to you. (At the first meeting, does your Realtor talk more than she listens? Not good) This is about you, not your agent. Make sure she listens, understands, communicates with your lender and then, once she has all of the facts, educates you on the realities of the home buying process and the communities that you are interested in.
To emphasize again, this is a partnership, so yes, if you have found a great Realtor you trust and have communicated thoroughly and completely, now is the time to listen to the expert. Based on the information that you've provided, your Realtor will interpret the information, provide you with options and plan a strategy that helps you achieve your real estate goals. She will share her expertise with you and, together, you will make a great team.
7. Use technology to be more efficient with your house hunting.
Now is the time to unsubscribe from all of the daily email lists and other "stuff" you signed up for in #3. You have your expert; rely on her to send you information that specifically pertains to you and your needs and wants. All of that other information can get confusing and overwhelming.
In order to stay on course, focus your time and efforts on what your Realtor and Lender tell you! You have assembled your team, now rely on them. Of course, if at any time during the process, you question the expertise of your team, ask questions and do your due diligence. If you still feel uncomfortable, find a new Realtor and a new Lender! You, your Realtor and your Lender need to all be on the same page and work together; trust is the foundation to accomplishing your real estate goals.
Your Realtor will send you daily listings that meet your needs and other helpful information. Review these listings, read these emails and respond accordingly. Once again, open and honest communication is invaluable here.
- Do you like the photos that you see? Why or why not? Do you need to adjust your criteria?
- Does something concern you? Do you have new information that you need to share with your Realtor/Lender? Perhaps something has changed in your job or your relationship and this now changes your ratios. Share the information now rather than waiting for your Lender to discover it later.
8. Hit the streets and see your favorite houses in person!
As great as photos are, you need to go see these houses. Mark off some time to see the homes that meet your needs. All parties to the transaction should be present and you should be prepared to make an offer. Don't delete homes solely based on paint or carpet color. That can be changed. Narrow down based on location, neighborhood, commute time, etc.
Don't be afraid to fall in love with a home on the first day. In the old days, you had to go inside all of these homes in order to see them. So it was common to go out for weeks and see many homes before you made an offer. But now, with technology, you have already "seen" the inside of many homes and you have done your homework. If your Realtor has listened to you and your Lender, then this first visit should be very productive.
Don't be surprised if you find your new home on the first day!
9. Work on your loan "to do" list.
Simultaneously, while you are getting educated via technology and looking at homes with your Realtor, you are also working on your loan "to do" list.
An "approved" buyer is much stronger than a "qualified" buyer during the negotiating process. Submit your pay stubs, proof of assets and any other documents or explanations that your lender needs. Once you are approved and you get documentation, you are a much stronger buyer and your Realtor should take advantage of this while negotiating.
10. Have fun!
This is an exciting time in your life. By taking care of all of the details in advance, you can now have fun and find a home that fits the next chapter of your life. Imagine all good things in your new home, a place to make memories. You've done your homework, assembled a great team to assist you and are ready to go. Enjoy the experience!
At Yaffe Real Estate we feel so lucky to help people at such a critical and exciting time in their lives. It never gets old and we never get tired of hearing a buyer say…" I love this house! What do we have to do next? Let's do it!"
Thank you for letting us share in this special time in your lives. After 22 years and thousands of happy families served, we are ready to serve you too. Give us a call anytime.