Thank you to guest blogger, Clara Beaufort of gardenergigs.com for sharing this piece with us.
Entering the housing market is more complex than many people think. In order to meet your buying or selling goals, it’s important to make preparations. Take these steps to ensure your success before you ever connect with your real estate agent.
Planning and Preparations are Key
If you are like most consumers, a home purchase is one of the biggest investments you will ever make, meaning success is vital to your financial well-being. As a seller, you want to get the best possible price for your property as quickly as possible. As a buyer, you want the best home at the best price that meets your needs and desires. Before you ever reach out to your real estate agent, you should take a few simple but important steps.
Do your homework. No matter if you’re buying or selling, go online to research the types of homes on the market. Note how long properties have sat unsold, how much similar-size homes are selling for, and whether your neighborhood is a “hot spot” for home sales. It’s also a good idea at this point to estimate how much your home is worth.
Gather documents. Pull together important documents to give to your realtor at your first meeting. These include your current mortgage documents and a list of upgrades you’ve done to your home (if selling).
Visit homes on your own. Don’t rely solely on photos and virtual tours when it comes to looking at a property you’re interested in. Allied suggests driving to the home and seeing it from the street, as well as driving through the neighborhood. Ruling these homes out — or in — beforehand could save you and your agent a lot of time.
You may have some vague notions about what you want in a home, or you may know particulars. However there is no substitute for notating your priorities. Listing your “must haves” versus your “wants” will help you know when you find a great home, whether you find a perfect match or must compromise to meet your needs.
Attending open houses is one way to formulate your search criteria. Visit homes in your area to see firsthand what the market offers. Take full advantage of these opportunities by giving each property a trial run: chat up neighbors to learn about the neighborhood, open closets to see whether there is space for your belongings, check water pressure, and examine layouts.
When it comes to financing your new home, be aware of the options for choosing a lending institution. Lenders differ on the loan types they have available; they also offer different mortgage rates, according to The Consumer Finance Protection Bureau. Realtors can help buyers navigate the field of mortgage lending because many realtors have relationships with lenders so they can help buyers move through the process more smoothly. However, buyers can still do research to learn about different loan options and average APRs and set a home-buying budget based on their finances.
Prequalification for a mortgage provides a ballpark figure for budgeting, which, as NerdWallet explains, is a pretty straightforward process. You will need to provide your income amount, debts, savings, and should know your credit history. You can even use an online prequalification calculator to get familiar with the terminology and process.
Actually getting a mortgage involves several steps, one of the first of which is knowing your monthly debt-to-income ratio. Lenders consider this number to determine how much you can afford to borrow. Generally speaking, your total debt including a new home payment should not exceed 43 percent of your income.
Probably the most important tool available to sellers is a home inspection. Prior to listing your property, you should hire a professional inspector so you can pinpoint any trouble before a potential buyer does. The average cost for a pre-listing inspection is between $278 to $399 per Moving.com (the larger the home the higher the cost).
Preparations can help buyers and sellers achieve their goals. Before you enter the market, take steps to ensure success. When you’re ready, call your realtor for a quick and successful transaction.
For trustworthy and innovative guidance with your home sale and search, connect with RE/MAX Capitol Properties. Call 307-635-0303 for more information.