7 Things to KNOW and DO before shopping for a home
1) Do your research on the neighborhoods you are interested in
Consider school systems, city taxes, appreciation potential, walkability, location and everything that is important to you as a homeowner and citizen. Visit the neighborhood at all times of the day to determine traffic patterns, noise, safety, etc.
2) Talk with a lender
It is important to discuss your finances with a mortgage professional. They will help you to determine what loan amount you qualify for, based on your FICO score, income, etc. You will also want to discuss the different loans that are available and which one makes the most sense for you. VA and FHA loans are great for first time homebuyers becuase they require little-to-know downpayment. Once you have received a pre-approval, you’ll know what price range to start looking in for homes/condos.
** If you need a recommendation for a lender, please contact me.
3) Team up with a Realtor
Having someone on your side, looking out for your best interest, is imperative. You have many choices when it comes to a real estate agent, but what’s most important, is finding someone you trust, who communicates well and who is knowledgable about the current market. Also understand that as a buyer, you are not the one paying for the agent’s commission. Rather, it is the seller who pays commission to both the selling and listing agent.
4) Determine your timeline and set your expectations
Are you willing to wait 3 months for a short sale approval? Or do you need to close escrow in 30 days because your lease is up then? These are things to consider when searching for properties. Short Sales typically do take longer because there are more parties involved; seller, buyer, bank(s). Bank Owned properties seem to be moving along quickly. Lastly, a traditional sale is typically your quickest. If you are obtaining a loan, a 30 days escrow is usually enough.
5) Property Condition
Know whether you want a fixer-upper or a move-in condition property. Some people like the idea of making a property their own, while others want to move right in.
6) Attempt to keep emotion out of it
Although it is easier said than done, try to maintain a business-like mindset. This is a financial decision, but can often become very emotional. Once emotions get involved, it is difficult to see things clearly (ie: major structural problems, etc)
7) Become educated about the tax consequences and advantages
Mortgage interest is deductible, which is a huge perk of homeownership. There are other tax-related issues to consider when purchasing a home and talking with your Tax Advisor is beneficial before making the plunge. It’s best to be educated about your financial obligations before buying, so that there are no surprises later.