Kim Cook's Blog
Generally, the length of the homebuying journey depends on the individual. In some instances, a buyer will purchase the first house that he or she views in-person. Or, in other cases, it may take a buyer several weeks or months to find a house that matches his or her expectations.
There is no need to rush the homebuying journey. But if you know what to expect when you pursue your dream house, you may be able to seamlessly navigate the property buying cycle.
Now, let's take a look at three tips to help you streamline the homebuying journey.
1. Establish Homebuying Criteria
If you know where you want to live and what you want to find in your ideal residence, you can tailor your house search accordingly. And as a result, you may be better equipped than other property buyers to discover a great house at an affordable price.
As you put together homebuying criteria, it is important to consider your long-term plans as well. For instance, if you enjoy city life and want to spend as much time as possible in the city, a house in the city may be the right choice for you. On the other hand, if you want to raise your family in a small town, you may want to hone your search to houses in small towns.
2. Get Pre-Approved for a Mortgage
A home purchase likely will require you to obtain a mortgage. Fortunately, banks and credit unions are available nationwide, and these financial institutions can help you get pre-approved for a mortgage.
Meet with several banks and credit unions so you can learn about all of the mortgage options at your disposal. Then, you can select a mortgage and enter the real estate market with a budget in hand.
3. Hire a Real Estate Agent
If you're on the lookout for your dream home, you may want to hire a real estate agent. This housing market professional can keep you up to date about new residences that become available in your preferred cities and towns – and much more.
Typically, a real estate agent will do whatever it takes to help you find and buy your dream home. He or she initially will learn about your homebuying goals and develop a custom homebuying strategy for you. Next, a real estate agent will set up home showings and keep you informed about open house events. And if you discover your ideal residence, a real estate agent will help you craft an aggressive offer to purchase this house.
Let's not forget about a real estate agent's homebuying expertise, either. If you ever have concerns or questions during the homebuying journey, a real estate agent can respond to them. That way, you can gain the insights you need to make an informed home purchase.
Simplify the homebuying journey – use the aforementioned tips, and you should have no trouble finding and acquiring your dream house.
There are a number of steps involved in buying a home. One of the many important things you should do before closing on a new home is to get the house properly inspected.
Buyers sometimes avoid getting a professional inspection for a number of reasons. Some are on a tight budget and want to save a few dollars. Others have time constraints and want to close as soon as possible. And, many buyers believe that omitting an inspection is a way to show trust in the previous owner.
In this article, we’ll talk about why getting a home inspection is such an important part before closing on a real estate deal.
Closing on a home comes with a number of expenses. Application fees, origination fees, underwriting fees… the list goes on. If you’re buying a home, you might be tempted to opt out of getting the property inspected to save money.
The cost of an inspection ranges anywhere from $200 for smaller homes, to $400 or more for large homes. However, the cost of not getting your home inspected can be much greater. Even if you’re knowledgeable when it comes to houses, there are a number of things that only the experts can diagnose.
Having a professional inspect the home is the only way to ensure that there aren’t any issues that will come back to haunt you (and your wallet) in the months and years to come.
Many buyers are eager to close the deal and begin moving into their new home as soon as possible. Sometimes buyers need to vacate their old home before a certain date, others try to time their move around holidays or school vacations.
There are other ways, however, to make sure you get the house inspected in time. First, make sure you’ve included a home inspection in your purchase agreement. This will avoid wasted times debating whether or not you are entitled to inspect the home.
Next, call multiple inspectors in your area for quotes and availability. Delaying this step can make you lose time, and inspectors might charge you more if they have to squeeze you into their schedule.
The best time to schedule an inspection is as soon as your offer is accepted.
Maintaining a good relationship with the seller
It may seem like an act of diplomacy to waive a home inspection. In reality, however, nearly all sellers will understand that you are simply doing due diligence to make sure the process runs smoothly for both of you.
Sellers might sometimes offer you the findings of a previous inspection that they had done. In this case, it’s still important to have your own inspection done so that you can walk through the home with the inspector and listen to their feedback. You can’t be sure of the accuracy of any old reports, and the previous inspector is only accountable to the seller.
Having a home professionally inspected is almost always a good idea. It can save you time and money in repairs that could have been avoided.
Looking to buy a house in the near future? If your answer is "Yes," you may want to start reviewing housing market data. That way, you can gain the insights that you need to make data-driven decisions throughout the homebuying journey.
Ultimately, there are many housing market data that you'll want to assess as you prepare to buy a house, such as:
1. Mortgage Interest Rates
Mortgage interest rates fluctuate constantly. As such, if mortgage interest rates are low, you may want to move quickly to capitalize on them.
Meeting with banks and credit unions generally is a great idea if you plan to buy a house. These financial institutions can keep you up to date about mortgage interest rates and help you get pre-approved for a mortgage. Then, once you have a mortgage in hand, you'll be ready to pursue your dream house.
2. Average Amount of Time That a House Stays on the Real Estate Market
Differentiating between a buyer's market and a seller's market often can be difficult. Fortunately, if you examine the average amount of time that houses are listed in your city or town, you may be able to determine whether you're preparing to enter a buyer's or seller's market.
In a buyer's market, houses may be listed for many weeks or months before they sell. Also, these houses may be sold below their initial asking prices.
Comparatively, in a seller's market, homes may be available for only days before they sell. Homes that are available in a seller's market may be sold at or above their initial asking prices as well.
3. Prices of Houses in Various Cities and Towns
If you're open to living in a variety of cities or towns, you'll want to evaluate the prices of houses in many areas. That way, you can narrow your house search accordingly.
Oftentimes, homes in big cities are more expensive than those in small towns. On the other hand, big cities may provide quick, easy access to a broad range of attractions and landmarks that you simply won't find in small towns.
If you are ready to check out housing market data and begin a home search, it pays to hire a real estate agent too. In fact, with a real estate agent at your side, you should have no trouble enjoying a quick, seamless homebuying experience.
A real estate agent is happy to provide you with a wealth of housing market data. Plus, a real estate agent will teach you the ins and outs of buying a house. He or she also will keep you up to date about new houses as they become available and negotiate with a seller's agent on your behalf to ensure you can acquire a terrific house at a fair price.
When it comes to buying a house, it helps to be informed. If you assess the aforementioned data, you can obtain comprehensive real estate market insights to help you throughout the homebuying journey.
There’s a lot of things to think about before buying a home--some financial, others personal. Most people tend to focus on one or the other. However, both are instrumental in choosing the right house and buying at the right time.
In this article, we’re going to talk about some of the ways you can determine if you’re ready for homeownership. We’ll discuss things like credit scores and down payments, but also important life factors like your career and future plans.
Getting your finances in order
There are a few simple things you can do right now that will help you understand if you’re financially secure enough to start looking at houses. First, you’ll want to look up your credit score.
Lenders strongly consider your credit when determining how much risk is involved in lending to you. A higher credit score can not only get you approved for a mortgage, it can lower your interest rate and make you eligible to borrow without having to pay private mortgage insurance.
The amount of money this saves seems trivial in the short term, but over the lifespan of your loan it can save you tens of thousands of dollars. So, read a free credit report and if your credit is lower than 700 start finding ways to improve your credit.
In the meantime, you’ll want to save for a down payment. While it’s possible to buy a home with a small or no down payment, it can come back to haunt you in the form of interest as you pay off your loan. Furthermore, many lenders won’t pre-approve you unless you make a down payment of a minimum amount (often 20% of the loan).
If you have a high credit score and you’ve saved for a down payment, another thing to check off your list would be proving your stable income. This can be difficult for the self-employed, contract workers, or people who have recently changed jobs.
Lenders want to see that you have a stable income history to ensure that you’ll be able to pay your mortgage each month. If you recently changed jobs or are in between jobs, it could be to your benefit to wait 3-6 months before getting pre-approved. In that time, you can continue to raise your credit and save for a down payment, further increasing your chances of getting a low-interest loan.
Preparing for homeownership
While the financial aspects of homeownership are important, so are the personal aspects. You’ll want to consider several life factors before buying a home.
First, think about your longterm goals. Do you want to live in the same area for the next 10 to 30 years? Will your career bring you to different regions or will you attend school somewhere else? These questions will help you decide if it’s a good time to buy or a better investment to save money while renting.
If you have a family (or plan on having one soon), you’ll also have to find a way to balance all of your living needs.
Finally, ask yourself if you have time for homeownership. Many people who are used to renting aren’t aware of the amount of time and money it takes to maintain a home. You’ll have more bills, you’ll have to mow your own lawn, and you’ll be responsible for maintenance of your home.
When it comes to buying a house, it usually pays to be flexible. Because if you take a flexible approach to the real estate market, you'll be open to checking out dozens of residences and can improve your chances of finding a house that matches or exceeds your expectations.
Although flexibility can play an important role in a successful homebuying journey, buyers sometimes struggle with stubbornness. Fortunately, we're here to help you become a flexible homebuyer who can achieve the best-possible results throughout the homebuying journey.
Now, let's take a look at three tips to help you become a flexible homebuyer.
1. Get Pre-Approved for a Mortgage
The real estate market constantly fluctuates, and a sector that favors buyers one day may favor sellers the next. However, if you get pre-approved for a mortgage, you can pounce at the opportunity to acquire your dream residence, regardless of when that opportunity presents itself.
Getting pre-approved for a mortgage may prove to be a quick, seamless process. Typically, you'll want to meet with local banks and credit unions and learn about a wide range of mortgage options. Once you have mortgage information, you can select a mortgage that corresponds to your finances.
Remember, pre-approval for a mortgage opens the door for a successful homebuying experience. It can help you establish a budget for your dream home by providing you with a set amount that you can spend on a residence. As a result, after you find an ideal house that falls within your price range, you'll have the flexibility to move quickly to acquire this residence.
2. Consider Houses in a Variety of Cities and Towns
Evaluate your homebuying goals – you'll be glad you did. If you understand where you want to live, you can explore houses in a variety of cities and towns that fit your criteria.
For example, if you want to live near family members or friends in a particular area, you can narrow your home search accordingly. Keep in mind that you don't necessarily have to live in the same city or town as these loved ones. Instead, you can search for houses in assorted cities and towns near your loved ones and ensure you're never too far away from them.
On the other hand, if you want to buy a home that is close to your office in the city, it may be worthwhile to consider houses both inside and outside the city itself. City living generally is more expensive than living in the suburbs, so you'll want to assess your finances closely before you buy a city house. Or, if you prefer small town living, you can always purchase a more affordable residence outside the city and take public transportation to work.
3. Collaborate with a Real Estate Agent
A real estate agent is happy to help you become a flexible homebuyer. In fact, this housing market professional will offer expert guidance during the homebuying journey. By doing so, a real estate agent will help you evaluate many houses and ensure that you can find one that suits you perfectly.
Ready to pursue your dream house? Consider the aforementioned tips, and you can enter the real estate market as a flexible homebuyer.