I decided to break this blog up into two parts. I have been involved in real estate for a long time, and like most people who have done something for a long time, the simplest things might not occur to us. Maybe people don’t know how to even get started with the buying process. I mean from the very start, you know when you wake up and say, I think I want to buy a house soon. Now you are going to buy your own home and realize that you don’t know how to even get started. When starting the process, having a better understanding and making sure you have a qualified professional agent by your side will help you get through your first purchase. I’m going to offer some tips to help.
It is a process, not a quick thoughtless act, but getting a loan lined up is usually the first step unless you have a ton of cash at your disposal. You wouldn’t go to the grocery store without your cash or cards right? Well, it is the same concept, you can’t go look for a house without the money to buy it first. Get pre-approved, which is a written estimate from a lender stating how much you will likely be able to borrow based on an initial review of your credit and financial information. It is the basis for the entire process. It shows how much you can spend and what price range you are going to be searching in. It holds more weight than a pre-qualification. Typically for a preapproval, you will need to provide a lender with a variety of financial documents including pay stubs, tax returns, and bank statements. Getting pre-approved at the very beginning of the process is key. You’ll be certain as to how much you can afford, if there are any concerns with your financial picture and/or credit you have time to address them, and if/when you find a home you love you’ll be ready to go and not have to scramble. Even though preapprovals expire typically within 90 to 120 days, your lender will be able to update it for you with a quick phone call and perhaps a few updated documents.
When you are shopping the first time, don’t just make an offer on the first house you see. You need to shop around a little first. Visit a lot of houses before making a final decision. Maybe even before selecting an agent. Not homes on the market, but homes of friends and family. Keep in mind that you are going to have to make a selection of a home that has the qualities you are looking for specifically. There are many factors that go into determining your perfect home: Price, neighborhood, street, size, views, condition, and proximity to places you frequent. Searching online is incredibly valuable but nothing replaces in- person visits. Taking the time to visit several houses will allow you to confidently narrow in on your preferred criteria and make an offer with confidence once you do find a home that you love. Too often, buyers will miss out on the perfect home because they feel they haven’t yet seen enough properties to confidently move forward with an offer.
Like I said this is just the first of two blogs I will write about this. Make sure that you pay attention to the details on your first purchase. Professional agents are here to help. I know that this world isn’t so trusting anymore, but like I have said a million times, real estate agents work for you and they don’t get paid a penny unless they do their job. It isn’t like most professions where a steady paycheck comes in, the work has to be completed before the payment is received. This motivates realtors to be honest, detail oriented, and hard-working. See you on the next part.