Buying a home
will probably rank as one of the biggest personal investments one can make. Being organized and in control will contribute significantly to getting the best home deal possible, with the least amount of stress. It’s important to anticipate the steps required to successfully achieve your housing goal and to build a plan of action that gets you there.
Before you can build a plan of action, take the time to lay the groundwork for your decision-making process.
Ask yourself how much you can afford to pay for a home. If you’re not sure on the price range, find a lender and get pre-approved. Pre-approval will let you know how much you can afford, allowing you to look for homes in your price range. Getting pre-approved also helps you to alleviate some of the anxieties that come with home buying. You know exactly what you qualify for and at what rate, you know how large your monthly mortgage payments will be, and you know how much you will have for a down payment. Once you are pre-approved, you avoid the frustration of finding homes that you think are perfect, but are not in your price range.
Also, when you make an offer on a home, your pre-approval letter is expected to be included. If not, your offer may not be viewed as a serious offer. Remember you're asking the seller to accept your offer based on your ability to pay cash, or to get a mortgage; and your competition (other buyers making offers) will have their pre-approval included.
Ask yourself where you want to live and what the best location for you and/or your family is. Things to consider:
- convenience for all family members
- proximity to work, school
- crime rate of neighborhood
- local transportation
- types of homes in neighborhood, for example condos, town homes, co-ops, newly constructed homes etc.
We all want the most home that we can get. But it is important, that you consider the "Must Haves" vs. the "I wants". Deciding what you absolutely "must have" from a home, is a crucial step in creating your plan. It will determine how your proceed. You wouldn't want to miss out on the home that is perfect for you and meets all of your needs, because you where focusing on the "I wants".
Once you have determined the "must haves", you can then see how many of the "I wants" you can include.
Just as important as the other items in your plan, knowing who will represent you is just as important. Your real estate agent should be someone you like and trust, is knowledgeable and understands the market trends.
Keeping in mind that Multiple Listing Services (the official source of all of the mls listings) are owned by REALTORS®, you might consider that your agent should also be a REALTOR®.