I Think I'm Ready To Buy a Home! Now What?!
Posted: May 18, 2018 by Amanda Whited
Whether you’re venturing into the home buying market for the first time, or you’re revisiting the process after even just a few years of having purchased your last home, there are two critical steps to follow to set yourself on a path to sure success.
Step One: Find a Realtor!
Without a doubt, the very best thing you can do to start – even before you start scouring the web for the perfect home! – is to identify the Realtor who will be your trusted advisor. With each buyer, I take time with an initial consultation to understand their needs, answer any questions, and tailor a road map for their home buying goals.
Some buyers hesitate to reach out to an agent at first, especially when they’re “just looking” or aren’t quite sure whether they’re ready to buy. Some of that hesitancy may come from having had experience with “pushy” or “high-pressure” agents. Just like you’ll find in any profession, not all agents are created equal! A good Realtor will respect if you just want to start with a conversation and aren’t prepared to make an offer right away. They’ll want to meet you where you are, so to speak.
So where do you start, and how do you find a great Realtor partner for your needs? Zillow.com is an easily accessible place to start to get unfiltered, objective information on what it’s like working with a local agent. Using the Agent Finder, look for a Realtor that has a multitude of good reviews and recent sales activity. These agents have clients who have taken time from their busy lives to tell the world about their Realtor. Use that information! If you’re open about your impending need to find a new home, ask around to friends, family, and co-workers. Look for glowing reviews from people you trust.
Partnering with the right Realtor from the start will help you make the process smoother, more predictable, less stressful, and more successful – whether you’re aiming to purchase in 2 days, 2 weeks, 2 months, or 2 years!
Step Two: Get pre-qualified or pre-approved.
Unless you’re purchasing a home with cash, you’ll need to speak with a lender to understand what you can comfortably afford.
Unfortunately, online calculators showing what you can expect to pay for your monthly mortgage payment almost always underestimate the amount significantly. For example, I just tested a popular online mortgage calculator using a recent client’s parameters. It underestimated her actual monthly payment by $450!!! In contrast to these calculators, a good lender will listen to your needs, help you find what overall home price translates to a comfortable monthly payment, and make sure you understand how much you can expect to come out of pocket on the day of closing in down payment and closing costs. These are critical numbers for planning ahead! You don’t want to fall in love with a home, only to find out when you go to the lender in preparation for making an offer that it’s actually not within your comfort level when you drill down to the monthly payment.
A good lender also won’t pressure you to buy. If the information they provide you leads to a decision to save up some additional funds over time before purchasing, your choice will be respected!
Being proactive and having a game plan is key when purchasing a home. Regardless of your timeline, price, or any other parameters, there’s no better time than the present to align yourself with a trusted Realtor and Lender to set yourself up for achieving your home buying goals. Would you like to start the conversation today? Just call, text, or e-mail me!