Julie Gross' Blog
Buying your first home is an exciting experience, but it can also be overwhelming when you don't know what to expect. Below are some tips to help first-time homebuyers navigate this process successfully.
1. Get pre-approved before you start shopping.
Nothing is more upsetting than finding the home of your dreams, only to learn that you cannot qualify for the loan needed to purchase it. Before you begin shopping for a new home, meet with a lender to request a pre-approval. The lender will review your financial situation and provide you with a pre-approved loan amount. Once you know how much you can afford to borrow, selecting the right properties will be easier.
2. Select the right real estate agent.
One of the most important things you can do to ensure that the process of buying your first home goes as smoothly as possible is to hire the right real estate agent. Be sure to choose a local agent who is familiar with your area. It is also a good idea to research your agent's background and experience, as well as to read reviews written by past clients so you will know what to expect as you work with the agent.
3. Don't overbuy.
When purchasing your first home, it can be tempting to choose a property at the higher end of your price range. However, adjusting to a monthly mortgage payment can be challenging. Make this process easier on yourself by selecting a property in the middle of your price range if possible. This will make your monthly payments more affordable, leaving you with plenty of extra income to buy furniture, make repairs or even save for the future.
4. Do your research.
Before purchasing any new home, be sure to do plenty of research about the neighborhood and the property itself. Ask your real estate agent to provide any insight they may have about the area and the property in question. If you have questions about the property, get the answers you need before you make an offer.
5. Ask for an inspection.
When you make an offer on the property you hope to purchase, you have the chance to request an inspection. Regardless of the circumstances, it is always in your best interest to take advantage of this opportunity. Be sure to read the inspection report carefully and consider any items that were found to be dangerous or defective.
Every first-time homebuyer feels a little anxious, but you can simplify the experience by following the tips above.
Anyone can buy a home – all it takes is hard work and diligence to evaluate your home financing options. Fortunately, we're here to help you streamline the process of finding the financing that you'll need to pay for a residence.
Now, let's take a look at three tips to help you determine how you will afford a house.
1. Take a Look at Your Current Financial Situation
Put together a monthly budget that outlines your current spending patterns. This will enable you to review how much you earn, what you're paying for housing and other pertinent financial information.
After an in-depth review of your current financial situation, you'll be better equipped than ever before to determine how much you can pay for a house. Then, you can create a homebuying budget to help you move closer to acquiring your dream residence.
2. Get a Copy of Your Credit Report
In all likelihood, a lender will receive your credit score to determine whether you are a viable candidate for a mortgage. If you request a copy of your credit report today, you can learn about your credit score and take steps to improve it before you apply for a mortgage.
The three major credit reporting bureaus (Equifax, Experian and TransUnion) provide one free copy of a credit report annually. If you submit a request for your credit report, you can gain unprecedented credit insights in no time at all.
Furthermore, if you find errors on a credit report, don't hesitate to contact the reporting bureau. This will enable you to fix any credit report mistakes prior to applying for a mortgage.
3. Reach Out to Local Lenders
Banks and credit unions are happy to meet with you and discuss a variety of mortgage options. These lenders are available in cities and towns nationwide and can teach you everything you need to know about home financing.
Ultimately, lenders can explain the home financing process and ensure you can avoid any potential pitfalls along the way. And if you ever have mortgage concerns or questions, lenders are available to respond to them at any time.
If you need extra help prior to kicking off a home search, you may want to contact a real estate agent as well. This housing market professional understands the ins and outs of purchasing a house and can help you plan accordingly.
Oftentimes, a real estate agent will meet with you and learn about your homebuying goals. This housing market professional then can ensure you won't have to break your budget to afford a terrific residence.
If you want to buy a home but have limited finances at your disposal, a real estate agent is happy to assist you. Or, if you are searching for a mortgage but don't know where to begin, a real estate agent can put you in touch with top lenders.
Work with a real estate agent, and you can improve your chances of acquiring a first-rate house at an affordable price.
On the basic level of supply and demand, a housing shortage leads to higher home prices. But let's look beyond the obvious at a few other considerations a homeowner might want to make in response to a housing shortage, as well as a few tips for the prospective homebuyer.
More Housing, Same Space
Wondering what the best investment you can make to raise the property value is? Creating extra housing within the existing footprint of the property is one of the best ways to go. Creating an attic or basement apartment in the existing home is one way to go, so is building an entirely new structure to house a granny flat. You could look into garage conversions, see if there are changes that could be made to any existing outbuildings, or break ground and start from scratch. In response to the housing shortage there are many laws being passed to make it easier for homeowners to receive approval for adding additional residences to their property, including simplifying licensing procedures and even overriding some HOAs, including one that just went into effect statewide in California.
A Great Time to Sell the As-Is Home
A housing shortage doesn't just drive prices up, it can cause buyers to quickly snap up houses with cosmetic flaws that would normally linger on the market. If the thought of doing needed house painting or landscaping feels like it defeats the purpose of selling the home, then now might be the right time to put your home on the market. Additionally, if you'd already been planning to sell your home, but have continually been adding to a never ending list of projects to complete before selling, then now is the time to list, while the market is hot, even if you're DIY home improvements are still a far cry from perfect.
Getting Into the Rental Market Is a Strong Income Source
If you're planning to purchase and move to a new home, you may want to re-think selling your current one. Although it may be a strong market for selling a home, the rental market could be robust. If you can afford to keep your current home, you may have an ideal income-producing investment on your hands.
3 Tips for the Homebuyer During a Housing Shortage
If you're looking to buy a home during a housing shortage, don't despair of the shortage. You'll have luck, just expect it to take a bit longer and follow this advice:
So, you're buying a home remotely. Because you probably don't want to invest hundreds of thousands of dollars in a house that smells like cats or that features weekly invasions by the SWAT team of the building next door, it's important to find a long-distance realtor you can trust. You need someone who excels at the remote-home-buying experience and who will represent you faithfully. Agents like these are out there, but it may take a bit of work to find them. Here's what we recommend.
Choose a Certified Residential Specialist
A certified residential specialist is a real estate agent who has undergone additional training and who has more experience than other agents. Only about 3 percent of all realtors in the United States have attained CRS status. You can find a CRS locally by using the online search function available at the Residential Real Estate Council.
To become a certified residential specialist, an agent must meet strict minimum requirements, including:
- Completion of between 25 and 150 successful real estate transactions.
- Completion of between 16 and 80 additional hours of training and education in realty.
- Adherence to a higher code of ethics than the average realtor.
While millions of hard-working real estate agents exist, only a small number have gone that extra mile to earn CRS certification. These are the agents you should trust to handle your transaction when you can't be there in person.
Choose an Expert Communicator
Choose a realtor who's an expert in your desired area and with whom you feel comfortable from the first conversation. The relationship between you and your remote-home-buying partner should feature excellent communication. He or she needs to understand your needs precisely, including your must-haves, your budget, your time frame, and what you're hoping to find in a neighborhood. If you're bringing along three small dogs, your mother-in-law, or two moody teenagers, your long-distance realtor needs to make sure there's sufficient space for everyone included.
Find a REALTOR® Who Cares
The REALTOR®you choose should be an expert on local schools. He should be able to get back to you with crime rates and economics. Additionally, he should be present at home inspections to ensure your future home doesn't have a termite infestation or a sketchy, outdated septic system. Everything from water pressure to the condition of outdoor fencing matters. These are all things you would investigate when viewing a home in person. If it's important to you, it should be important to the realtor you choose.
Seventy-eight percent of all home buyers value the quality of a neighborhood over the size of a home, and 57 percent would rather have a shorter work commute than a sprawling yard. It's statistics like these that can make or break your remote-home-buying experience. It's vital to partner with the best agent for the job.
Having a second home gives you an opportunity to spend part of your time living in another area or bring in another source of income if you rent it out. Purchasing another home is a major investment that requires careful consideration. Before you begin looking into properties for sale, keep the following factors in mind for your second home.
Choose a Location Carefully
Whether you have a location in mind or you’re exploring your options, make sure you get to know the local area well prior to making a purchase. If you’re thinking of buying property in a vacation area you’ve visited before, for example, you should learn more about what this location is like in the off season. If you’re considering places you’ve never been to, gather as much information as you can about the area, such as local crime rates and average weather conditions throughout the year.
Decide on the Right Kind of Home
Your second home could be a single-family house or a condo or townhome. If you plan on using the property often and you want more privacy, a single-family house might be the right choice. Just keep in mind that you’ll need to make sure you maintain the property all year round. A condo or townhome might offer a better option if you only plan to visit your second home a few times a year, since you won’t have to worry about yard maintenance.
Consider Financial Factors
In addition to paying a mortgage and property taxes, there are other financial factors to take into consideration. For a vacation home, you might have added expenses, such as flood insurance in a hurricane-prone area. You’ll also need to include the cost of maintaining the property throughout the year, such as professional yard maintenance or routine HVAC maintenance. If you plan to rent out your second home, you might need to factor in the cost of hiring a property management company. You might also need to include HOA fees whether you buy a vacation home or rental property.
Work with a Local Agent
When you know where you want to purchase a second home and start looking into available properties, work with a local real estate agent. These agents are familiar with the local market, which helps ensure that they’re able to find you a home that fits your needs. They’ll also be able to determine the right asking price for it based on local market conditions.
Think About Taxes
The tax situation for your second home will depend on whether or not you rent it out and for how long. You’ll need to report rental income if you rent it out for more than 14 days per year, but you’ll also be able to deduct the cost of rental expenses. Since tax rules for property ownership can be complex, get detailed information about your situation before choosing a second home to purchase.