Judy Rivard's Blog
You know that you want to buy a house, but you may have only a limited amount of time to conduct a home search and discover your ideal residence. Luckily, there are many things that you can do to speed up your homebuying timeline.
Now, let's take a look at three tips to help you accelerate your journey from homebuyer to homeowner.
1. Refine Your House Search
A list of homebuying criteria is a must-have, particularly for a property buyer who wants to enjoy a quick, seamless house search. In fact, with homebuying criteria in hand, you can refine your house search and move one step closer to finding your dream residence.
As you craft a list of homebuying criteria, think about where you want to reside too. That way, you can further narrow your house search and focus exclusively on homes in your preferred cities and towns.
2. Get Pre-Approved for Home Financing
At first, it may seem like a lot of work to get pre-approved for a mortgage. But if you receive pre-approval for a mortgage, you may be able to avoid time-consuming home financing hurdles down the line.
Oftentimes, it does not take long to get the financing you need to buy a house. Banks and credit unions are available across the United States, and these financial institutions are happy to teach you about a variety of mortgage options. Then, you can select a mortgage that matches your financial needs and kick off your homebuying journey with a mortgage at your disposal.
3. Collaborate with a Real Estate Agent
If you face a time crunch to purchase a house but don't know how to start the homebuying journey, there is no need to stress. By hiring a real estate agent who can offer in-depth homebuying guidance, you can find your dream house in no time at all.
A real estate agent will do everything possible to ensure you can speed up the homebuying journey. First, he or she will learn about your homebuying goals and help you create a homebuying strategy. A real estate agent next will help you search for residences and assess houses in the cities and towns of your choice. And if you discover a house that you want to buy, a real estate agent will help you craft a competitive offer to purchase your ideal residence.
Let's not forget about a real estate agent's housing market expertise, either. A real estate agent understands how to navigate a buyer's or seller's market. As a result, he or she will make it simple for you to review houses that match or exceed your expectations. If you have concerns or questions as you pursue your dream home, a real estate agent is ready to respond to them as well.
Ready to streamline the homebuying journey? Use the aforementioned tips, and you can quickly and effortlessly find a great house and make your homeownership dream come true.
Whether you’re buying a house or selling a home, the smartest move you can make is to hire a real estate agent to represent your interests. But before you do, take these important steps so you can be best prepared for the next stages.
Have An Idea Of What Kind Of House You Want To Buy
If planning to purchase a new house, prepare for your real estate agent interview by figuring out what kind of house you’re interested in. For this, you’ll want to familiarize yourself with the various house style terms, like ranch, colonial, craftsman, Tudor, etc. Knowing these terms and knowing what you want will enable you and your agent to communicate easier, and your agent will be able to more quickly find the kind of homes you’d be interested in.
Get Your Financing In Order
Nothing’s worse than finding the house of your dreams, only to find out you can’t get approved for a mortgage. Before you do anything else, get your financing in order. Speak to a lender about getting pre-approved for a mortgage. This will let you know how much you’re approved for and how much house you can afford. Your pre-approval status is also a powerful bargaining chip if for some reason you need to compete with other bidders.
Be Ready to Move
If you hire a good real estate agent to sell your house, you could be looking at a closing date just 30 days away. A good agent can have potential buyers ready to close fast. Are you ready for that? Before hiring your real estate agent, make sure you’re ready to move. Have a contingency plan in place if you need to move out quickly, including:
Know Where You Stand With Your Existing Mortgage
You should have a very clear understanding of where you currently stand with your existing mortgage if you’re thinking of selling. You need to know the minimum of what you need to sell your house for so you can make the profit that you hope to gain. Also, go through your mortgage paperwork to ensure there will be no surprises regarding special clauses or contingencies when it comes to selling the house. Depending on the restrictions of your mortgage, there may be caveats as far as transferring title or changing terms.
Ask About the Real Estate Agent’s Track Record
During your interview with a prospective real estate agent, it’s fair to ask them what their track record is. Real estate agents keep tabs on how many houses they’ve bought and sold in any year, so the agent will be able to rattle off their “statistics” for you. Be sure to ask how long their houses stayed on the market, too, since that will reflect on the agent’s salesmanship skills.
These steps will ensure that your real estate experience will be a positive one. Once you’ve gone through these steps, you’ll be ready to hire a real estate agent to buy or sell your home!
Buying a home represents a life-changing decision. As such, you'll want to look beyond the price of a residence as you search for your dream house.
Ultimately, there are many factors beyond price that you should consider as you pursue your ideal residence, including:
1. A Home's Location
For most homebuyers, a house's location is the number one factor when they explore the real estate market, and perhaps it is easy to understand why.
Finding a home in a location that is convenient for you is priceless. And if you know how to conduct a comprehensive home search, you can quickly discover a high-quality home in a wonderful location.
As you prepare to kick off your home search, consider whether you'd like to live in a city or town. This will enable you to narrow your home search.
You also may want to consider homes that are located near work or school. By doing so, you can ensure that you won't have to travel too far to get to destinations that you frequently visit.
2. A Home's Condition
A home may look like a great investment at first, but its condition may have deteriorated over time. Thus, you'll want to take a close look at a house's condition before you finalize a home purchase.
Typically, a homebuyer will complete a property inspection after a home seller accepts an offer on a residence. This inspection will enable a homebuyer to perform an in-depth assessment of a residence and learn about its strengths and weaknesses. Then, a homebuyer can determine whether to move forward with a home acquisition.
If a property inspector discovers myriad issues that impact a home's condition, a homebuyer may want to reconsider his or her offer. At this point, a homebuyer can still walk away from a home purchase. Or, a homebuyer can ask the home seller to complete various home improvements as well.
On the other hand, a homebuyer who falls in love with a house may choose to proceed with a home purchase, regardless of the residence's condition. If you choose this option, however, it is important to consider the potential long-term ramifications of your decision.
3. Your Future
It is paramount for a homebuyer to find a house that he or she can enjoy for years to come. Therefore, a homebuyer should consider his or her future before finalizing a home purchase.
For example, if you plan to settle down and start a family, you may want to evaluate houses that are close to schools. Conversely, if you eventually want to work in the big city, you may want to consider homes that will make it easy to commute into the city day after day.
Don't forget to hire a real estate agent to help you during the homebuying journey too. With a real estate agent at your side, you should have no trouble examining a broad range of top-notch houses that won't force you to break your budget.
Homeowners associations (HOAs) exist to maintain the cleanliness and appeal of a community. Whether a home belongs to a HOA is a major consideration for home buyers. Some see it as a benefit, others a deal breaker. Here's what to consider before going with or without a HOA.
If privacy is a high priority, a HOA may not be ideal for you. Homes that are part of a HOA are usually connected or have very little space between them. If you're looking forward to meeting and becoming friends with your neighbors, you may not mind. In fact, most HOAs will organize community activities to foster cohesiveness between residents.
Monthly HOA fees can range anywhere from $200 to $600. Just as with rent, more desirable locations like New York City and Los Angeles will fall in the higher end of the spectrum, while small towns and rural areas in the lower end. The upkeep required for older homes and more populated communities will also demand higher fees. Amenities such as golf courses, fitness centers, and gated security will also add dollars to your dues.
HOA rules vary widely and are voted on by the community's residents. You'll be restricted on what colors you can paint your home's exterior, what decorations you can place, how late you can use the fitness center, where you park, etc. Some HOAs also have rules on the size and number of pets you can have. You can vote on new rules in the meetings, but don't expect midnight parties to become a thing.
One of the premier benefits a HOA offers is resolving disputes. You won't have to write a passive-aggressive letter to your neighbor about their barking dog or parking in your assigned space. Bring it to the HOA, and they should address the issue directly with the offender. On the other hand, if you happen to have petty neighbors, you may find yourself being reported for actions that may or may not be against the rules.
Another big selling point of a HOA is the convenience. You'll never have to mow your lawn, rake leaves, or clear snow. Most HOAs will cover general maintenance such as HVAC and plumbing repairs, pest control, and landscaping. Again, the quality of these services depends on the HOA itself, so be sure to do your research beforehand.
The pros and cons of a HOA all come down to your individual values, plans for your home, and the price and quality of the services rendered by the HOA. Read online reviews and talk to your potential neighbors to get an idea of what to expect.
If you're ready to get serious about your home buying journey, one of the first steps is seeing various lenders. As you become more familiar with the process, you'll likely hear the terms preapproval and prequalified mentioned again and again. We'll look at how each letter works and what you should know before approaching a home seller.
Prequalification Vs. Preapproval
The key difference between a preapproval and prequalification is that the preapproval letter is much more involved. With a prequalification, the lender will look at the general state of the buyer's assets before estimating how much home they're likely to afford. Lenders are not diving into the buyer's past, which can make real estate agents wary of accepting prequalification letters.
With a preapproval letter, you're typically asked to provide the following:
Considering the amount of paperwork you need to provide (and the lender needs to process), preapproval letters can take months to generate. On the other hand, a prequalification letter can be procured in little more than 24 hours.
Here are a few facts that can help you know more about what to expect:
Does It Help to Have Both?
Not necessarily. Prequalification letters are generally recommended for homebuyers who may not know for sure if they're ready to buy. It's a general indication of how much money you'll get, which can help you decide if it's enough to get a preapproval letter. If you're in a buyer's market, you may be able to get away with a prequalification. However, it's generally the far less coveted letter that you can have.
A preapproval letter is definitely the best letter you can take to a seller when you're ready to make a bid on a home, but it's important to note that even these letters may fall through. For example, if a major event occurs (e.g., a job loss, etc.) between when your financial institution issued the letter and when you close on the home. Talking to a real estate agent or financial expert can make it easier to navigate it all.