January 3rd, 2013
With the new year comes new opportunity – which for many of you, means finally purchasing your own home!
So now what?
The blog post “Tips for Preparing to Buy in 2013” offers four easy steps for kicking off the process of becoming a homeowner, and while it’s a complicated and sometimes stressful experience, it’s well worth it in the end.
Finding a home you love is often the easy part. It’s figuring out how to buy it that’s often the confusing part, which is why the first step should always be:
Choose a lender. We can’t stress enough how important it is to find a lender before even thinking about the real estate agent. This is often a new concept to people, but in this housing market, a lender can ensure you get the best out of your money from the start.
As the Zillow blog post explains, a lender can tell you what you can afford, or what you need to do to be able to afford a certain home or area, before you even begin looking – and that’s huge. Think of it this way: you don’t go into a store without knowing how much money you can afford to spend, so why do that with a home? Nothing is more frustrating for the buyer or seller than finding a perfect match only to learn the buyer can’t get approved for that much. A lender can help you get pre-approved for a mortgage, offer advice for improving your credit, and then refer you to a real estate agent when you’re ready to start hunting.
Find your real estate agent. This is something your lender can help you with if you don’t already have someone in mind. It’s important to find out how many houses he or she typically sells a year, how familiar he or she is with the area where you’re looking, and what kind of experience he or she has.
You can also drive around the area where you plan to buy to see if a certain agent has a lot of signs around town – that’s a good indicator of his or her reputation.
Educate yourself. A good lender will walk you through most of the process, but it’s a good idea to do some research for yourself on the ins and outs of buying a house and being a homeowner.
Shop til you drop. One mistake buyers can make is rushing into a purchase in fear that the perfect home will pass them by. Make sure you slow down and take the time to really look into the home AND the area. Drive through the neighborhood at night, during the day and on weekends to get a well-rounded view of the neighborhood. Research the community, including crime rates and the school system.