Dympna Atwell's Blog
Let's face it – stress can be problematic, particularly for a homebuyer who is competing with others to find the best house at the lowest price. Lucky for you, we're here to help you minimize the guesswork associated with purchasing a house, increasing the likelihood of a stress-free homebuying experience.
Now, let's take a look at three tips to help you enjoy a stress-free homebuying journey.
1. Study the Housing Market
The housing market conditions in one city or town may vary from the real estate conditions in another. As such, you'll want to assess the local housing market closely to identify patterns and trends. This will allow you to obtain comprehensive real estate market insights that can help you become a diligent homebuyer.
Of course, don't forget to analyze the prices of recently sold houses in your city or town too. This housing market information can help you differentiate a seller's market from a buyer's one so you can tailor your homebuying journey accordingly.
2. Prep Your Finances
Although you know that you want to buy a house as soon as possible, you still have no idea how you'll pay for a residence. Fortunately, if you prepare your finances today, you'll be better equipped than ever before to enjoy a stress-free homebuying experience.
Consult with a variety of banks and credit unions to learn about all of the mortgage options at your disposal. That way, you can explore a wide range of mortgage options and select one that matches your finances perfectly.
Also, be sure to ask lots of questions when you meet with lenders. These financial institutions employ friendly, knowledgeable mortgage specialists who can help you evaluate all of your home financing options. And if you ask plenty of mortgage questions, you can gain the insights that you need to make the best-possible mortgage decision.
3. Collaborate with a Real Estate Agent
If you want to avoid stress throughout the homebuying journey, it helps to hire a real estate agent. In fact, with a real estate agent at your side, you can get the support that you need to thrive.
A real estate agent will learn about your homebuying goals and help you map out a successful homebuying journey. As a result, a real estate agent will make it easy to identify potential homebuying hurdles and ensure that you can avoid such issues.
Furthermore, a real estate agent delivers extensive assistance at each stage of the homebuying journey. He or she will help you examine a broad array of houses and find a home that is right for you. Plus, after you discover your dream house, a real estate agent will help you submit a competitive homebuying proposal.
As you get ready to enter the real estate market, it helps to plan ahead as much as you can. Take advantage of the aforementioned tips, and ultimately, you can minimize stress as you proceed along the homebuying journey.
Buying a house is arguably the most expensive purchase most people will make in their lives. With real estate prices steadily rising year after year, many Americans are finding ways to save on housing.
At the same time, rent prices too are increasing, especially around metro areas where many young Americans are entering the workforce. With costs rising and wages stagnating, it can be hard to find an affordable place to live while still building equity that can be used later on down the road.
One option that many Americans are considering is the fixer-upper route. However, it takes know-how and a lot of hard work to make this method a good choice to save you money. In this article, we’ll tell you how to make certain buying a fixer upper is a good idea and what costs you can expect along the way.
Adding up the costs
Buying a house that needs work means you’ll need to spend a good amount of time calculating costs and getting quotes from professionals. Even if you’re familiar with several home maintenance tasks, there are some jobs that are safer if left to the pros. This isn’t only a matter of physical safety, however. If you start a job that you aren’t qualified to finish you could end up paying much more than if you had just hired a licensed professional to do the job in the first place.
When estimating costs for reparations and renovations, aim high. It’s better to plan for it to be more expensive and have more left over than to underestimate your projects and go over budget.
Get an inspection report
If you aren’t sure whether or not you want to go through with a deal, make sure you have an inspection contingency clause in your contract. This will enable you to back out if the home inspector makes you aware of any costs that you weren’t told about by the seller.
Don’t forget added costs
There are several closing costs you’ll be responsible for as a buyer. Make sure you keep tabs on how much you can expect to spend closing on the home. If you’re going through a mortgage lender, they are required to give you an estimate of closing costs.
Once you know the purchase price of the home and the closing costs, make sure you account for other aspects of your renovations, such as getting required permits.
If you do plan on taking out a loan to cover the cost of renovations, be smart with how you get and pay back that money. One option is the FHA 203(k) loan or renovation loan.
Renovation loans help you save on closing costs and simplify the lending process by giving you one loan that accounts for the cost of the renovations and of the home itself.
Ready to submit an offer on a house? Not so fast. First, you'll want to consider a few key questions, including:
1. Can I afford to buy a house?
If you find a house you like, make sure you can afford the monthly mortgage payments. By doing so, you may be able to avoid costly, time-consuming problems down the line.
Ultimately, getting pre-approved for a mortgage can make a world of difference, particularly for a homebuyer who is ready to submit an offer on a home.
With pre-approval for a mortgage, a homebuyer will understand exactly how much money is at his or her disposal. As a result, this homebuyer can avoid the temptation to overspend on a house.
2. Should I submit a "lowball" offer?
For many homebuyers, it may seem like a good idea to submit a "lowball" offer on a house. But doing so may be problematic for a number of reasons.
If you submit a lowball proposal, a home seller is unlikely to take your bid seriously. As such, this home seller may dismiss your offer and move on to other proposals quickly.
In addition, a lowball offer may cause you to miss out on the opportunity to acquire your dream residence.
When you locate the perfect residence, there is no need to leave anything to chance. If you submit a fair proposal that meets or exceeds a home seller's expectations, you can avoid the risk of losing your dream house to a rival homebuyer.
3. How much should I offer for a residence?
We've already established that a lowball offer is rarely, if ever, a good idea. Now, you'll just need to determine what differentiates a fair proposal from a lowball one.
A fair proposal accounts for the needs of both a homebuyer and home seller. It should be based on the current state of the housing market as well as the condition of a home.
For instance, if you're operating in a buyer's market, there is likely to be a broad assortment of homes available. This means a home seller may need to lower his or her expectations due to the sheer volume of quality residences currently on the market.
Don't forget to study the prices of recently sold homes in a particular city or town too. This housing market data will help you better understand how a residence you're considering stacks up against comparable houses so you can submit an appropriate offer.
4. Do I need a real estate agent?
A real estate agent will take the guesswork out of buying a home, and for good reason. This real estate professional can help you prepare an offer and will negotiate with a home seller on your behalf. That way, you can streamline the process of going from homebuyer to homeowner.
Hire a real estate agent before you submit an offer on a house – you'll be glad you did. A real estate agent will guide you along the homebuying journey and ensure you can secure a great house at a price that fits your budget.
A home inspection is a vital part of every real estate transaction. Its importance is usually solidified in a purchase contract in the form of a contingency clause.
Whenever you buy or sell a home, the transaction is typically contingent upon a few things being fulfilled. Inspections help protect the buyer from purchasing a home that they believed didn’t have any major issues.
For buyers, an inspection can save you thousands in the long run. For sellers, getting a preemptive inspection done (on your own dime) can be useful since it will help you avoid any surprises that could arise when a potential buyer has your home inspected.
Hiring a home inspector
Regardless of whether you’re the buyer or the seller in this instance, hiring a home inspector isn’t something you should take lightly. You’ll want to confer with your agent before you pick an inspector.
It’s also a good idea to check out some online reviews and visit the inspector’s website for pricing. Typically, inspectors charge between $200 and $400 for an inspection, so feel free to shop around.
Inspectors are certified, so make sure whoever you choose has the proper licensure. You can search for inspectors in your area with this search function.
Ultimately, you’ll want to choose an inspector that can give you the most unbiased assessment of the home, so that you can be assured that you know what you’re getting into when you buy or sell a home.
Preparing for an inspection
Many buyers aren’t sure what to expect on inspection day. However, the process is relatively simple.
You’ll want to make sure the inspector can easily access workspaces (like around the furnace, circuit breakers, etc.). This will make the inspector’s job easier and allow them to focus on the service they’re providing you.
If possible, it’s also a good idea to provide them with records of important home maintenance and repairs. Inspectors know what red flags to look for with the home, both physically and on paper.
Finally, make sure pets, kids, and any other distractions are away from home or with someone who can attend to them.
After the inspection is complete, the inspector will hand you a report and be able to answer any questions you have about their findings. They will give recommendations about the timeline for repairs that need to be made soon or even years into the future.
With this report in hand, you can determine if there are repairs you want to negotiate with the seller if you’re buying a home. As a seller, this report will tip you off to issues that potential buyers will likely have and give you a chance to address them in advance.
Ultimately, there is no surefire amount that you should spend on a house. The real estate market varies in cities and towns nationwide, and as such, the prices of houses fall across a broad range. Also, the condition and age of a house – as well as a homebuyer's budget – may dictate how much an individual is willing to spend on a particular residence.
As you search for your dream house, it helps to plan ahead as much as you can. Because if you have a homebuying strategy in place, you can determine exactly how much you can spend to acquire your ideal residence.
Now, let's take a look at three tips to help you get your finances in order before you kick off a house search.
1. Check Your Credit Score
Believe it or not, your credit score may have far-flung effects on your homebuying budget. And if you fail to review your credit score before you embark on a house search, you may miss out on an opportunity to purchase your dream house.
A low credit score may make it tough to get the mortgage you need to acquire your ideal residence. Thus, you may want to check your credit score and find ways to improve it before you begin a house search.
You won't have to break your budget to get a copy of your credit report from the three credit bureaus (Equifax, Experian and TransUnion). In fact, you are entitled to a free copy of your credit report annually from each of the aforementioned credit bureaus. Request a copy of your credit report, and you can learn your credit score.
Of course, if your credit score is low, you can always improve it by paying off outstanding debt. Or, if you find errors on your credit report, contact the credit bureau that provided the report so that you can get these issues corrected.
2. Get Pre-Approved for a Mortgage
Pre-approval for a mortgage makes it easy to enter the housing market with a budget at your disposal. If you meet with a variety of banks and credit unions, you can get pre-approved for a mortgage sooner rather than later.
Remember, banks and credit unions employ friendly, knowledgeable mortgage specialists. Don't hesitate to ask these specialists about assorted mortgage options, and you can select a mortgage that perfectly matches your finances.
3. Consult with a Real Estate Agent
A real estate agent can make it simple to pursue your dream house. This housing market professional will help you narrow the price range for your dream house and ensure you can discover the perfect house without delay. Perhaps most important, a real estate agent is happy to negotiate with a seller's agent on your behalf, ensuring you can get the best price on any home.
Ready to start a home search? Use the aforementioned tips, and you can simultaneously look for your dream house and avoid the risk of paying too much to purchase your dream residence.