Deciding where to live is a formidable decision for the best of us, especially when coupled with the financial pressures and long-term ramifications of a mortgage. Between looking for homes within your budget, factoring the development of the surrounding neighborhood into the future of you and your family and navigating home inspections and meetings with your lender, buying a home can take you into unchartered realms of anxiety. Here are some best practices to keep you focused and level headed on your house-hunting journey.
Get Pre-Approved for a Mortgage
Have a conversation with your bank before you start looking for houses so that you can get approved for a mortgage. This gives you an idea of how much home you can financially afford.
Pre-approval has other benefits as well; it shows that you are a committed buyer to listing agents and sellers. It can also lock you into unfavorable lending rates for three or four months.
Reach Out to Friends & Family
Bringing a trusted friend with you to your viewings, especially when you’re closing in on your top picks. Their emotional distance from the search will allow for some valuable and unbiased insight.
Having a support network is important when making big life decisions, especially when committing to something as significant as a home. Call your loved ones to chat or have a coffee if you’re feeling challenged by the search or if you want to share your excitement of a particularly special listing.
Research Neighborhoods and Cities
What is important to your daily life? Is it proximity to friends and family, a neighborhood with a lot of cultural history, a promising school district or being close to restaurants and entertainment.
Having a good idea of where you want to live can help narrow a search when it seems as though too many listings are available (depending on the market ofcourse!) Committing to a neighborhood can help you get excited about the you and your loved ones will build once you purchase a home.
Work Out Your Budget
Nothing is more stressful than searching for something and discovering that you’ve spent too much money on an item or missed out on a bargain. This anxiety is amplified when shopping for something as expensive as a home. So, you need to have the budget a comfortable grasp on how much you want to spend on your home.
Take into consideration your downpayment as this will impact how much you can borrow. Also, make sure to budget for all of the hidden fees of homeownership; such as appraisal fees, taxes, insurance and closing costs.
Build a Priority List
Making a list of everything you need out of your home will help you concentrate while you view multiple listings and compare pros and cons for things like commute, cost and space.
There are a few ways you can organize your priority list. You can rate your priorities on a points-based system or place then on a spectrum ranging from necessities to inessentials.
Enlist the Help of An Agent
A Real Estate Agent will negotiate the lowest possible price for your offer and provide insights on trends in the market. that impact the value and future sales potential of your home. They are compensated only when you buy, we strongly suggest you have a buyer agent that works for you and represents your best interest.
A mortgage glossary is brimming with terms that leave most buyers scratching their heads in confusion. A buyer’s agent can help you navigate the complexities of a home purchase while staying committed to representing your best interest.
Give Yourself Enough Time
Is there a current deadline for you to leave your current living situation , make sure your start your search well in advance of when you need to vacate your current house or apartment. An average timeline usually allows 45 days to find your dream home and 45 days to get your finances in order to make an offer and close on a sale and then a month to move into your new home.
Keep track of this timeline in a calendar and work backwards from when you ideally like to move in o ease the pressure around giving notice, booking a moving company or coordinating meetings with your bank.
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