Jay LeClerc's Blog
Buying a home is one of the biggest purchases that you’ll ever make in your lifetime. You’ll spend decades of your life making mortgage payments to pay off your home loan. Buying a home is more than just simply finding a place to live. It’s also a financial decision. Your home helps you to build equity, gives you tax deductions, and helps you to have some security in your financial future.
One of the biggest questions that you’ll have when you buy a home is “How much can I spend?” To answer this question, you’ll need to dig a little deeper.
Do You Have Money For A Down Payment?
The standard amount of money that you’ll need for a down payment is 20 percent of the purchase price of a home. If you don’t have the money for a full down payment, you’ll need to pay for private mortgage insurance (PMI). This could add up to be an extra cost of hundreds of dollars per month in additional insurance payments on top of your mortgage and every other kind of expense that goes along with buying a home. You’ll need to take the time to save up for a down payment if you’re a first time homebuyer. If you already own a home, the equity that you have in that home can help you with the down payment.
What Are Your Other Financial Responsibilities?
There’s more to buying a home than just the monthly mortgage payment. You’ll need to get insurance, pay taxes, and have some money set aside for repair and decorating costs. You’ll need to look at your monthly income to find out just how much you can afford on a home. You should take an honest look at your lifestyle and existing expenses in order to determine a comfortable monthly mortgage payment for you.
Know Your Credit Score
Your credit score will be a major factor in how much house you’ll be able to afford. Your lender will use your credit score and credit history to help determine what type of interest rate you’ll get and how much they’re willing to lend you in order to buy a home.
Understanding what you can afford for a home purchase is crucial before you even start shopping. It’s a good idea to meet with a lender to get pre-qualified. This is different than getting pre-approved. Your lender will give you a general idea of how much you can spend on a home without digging too deep into your finances. Getting pre-qualified is a great place to start when you’re looking at the numbers of being a homeowner.
The process of buying a home is anything but cut and dry. There will undoubtedly be some twists and turns along the way. First, you need to be pre-approved for a mortgage. Then, you’ll need to find a home that fits both your needs and your budget. Finally, you’ll put in an offer on a place and hope for the best throughout the rest of the process.
There are plenty of things that you can do as a buyer to make buying a home both easier and more streamlined. Below, you’ll find some of the best tips that are specifically for those seeking to buy a home.
Give Them An Offer They Can’t Refuse
When there is a low quantity of homes and a high number of buyers, competition can get fierce. When the market is like this, you’re not guaranteed to get a property that you put an offer on. It may take making several offers on homes in order for you to finally get the keys to your dream house.
You never want your offer to be too low. A low offer could be insulting to sellers and instead of being countered, could just be outright refused. Make an offer too high and you still have a problem. A high offer may be accepted, however, it’s not going to be approved by your mortgage company for you to borrow that much for the purchase. If an offer is accepted and a home appraises for less, you may be left with thousands of dollars that you need to pay on the spot in order to secure the home.
The best way to present an attractive offer is to work with an expert realtor who can do the appropriate research and let you know what a good offer on the home would be.
Know Your Contingencies
After an offer on a home has been accepted, you need to get to work on the contingencies that you’re going to want on the home. Your realtor will also be a huge advocate in this area. Contingencies will include things like the right to do a home inspection, the appraisal contingency, and the contingency that you’ll only be able to move forward with buying the home if you have appropriate financing. These protect you as a buyer so that if something falls through, you’ll be able to back out of the deal without a penalty.
Don’t Go Credit Happy
Once your offer is accepted and your financing is in place, don’t head out to buy tons of new furniture and appliances for your new home. Your credit matters until you get the keys to the house. Opening new credit cards or adding significant debt can affect your credit score negatively, possibly putting a damper on your home purchase. Hold off on making purchases until after you move into the house.
Home showings are valuable parts of the property buying cycle. If a homebuyer knows what to expect during a showing, this individual can get the information that he or she needs to determine whether a particular house is the right option.
Now, let's take a look at three things that buyers need to know about home showings.
1. A home showing is a commitment-free experience.
There is no obligation to submit an offer to purchase a house following a showing. Instead, a buyer can review his or her options and proceed accordingly.
In some cases, a buyer may want to set up a follow-up home showing as well. A follow-up showing enables a buyer to get a second look at a residence to determine whether it matches or exceeds his or her expectations.
It also may be beneficial to prepare lots of questions before a showing. That way, a buyer can gain deep insights into a home to help him or her decide the best course of action.
2. A home showing enables a buyer to get an up-close look at a house.
During a home showing, a buyer will walk through a house with a real estate agent. A buyer can ask a real estate agent questions about a residence, and he or she may even choose to take notes as the showing progresses.
It generally is a good idea to check out all areas of a house during a showing. Remember, a home purchase probably is one of the biggest decisions that an individual will make in his or her lifetime. With a comprehensive home showing, an individual can gain extensive insights into a residence's age, condition and more.
In addition, a buyer should not place a time limit on a showing. Depending on the size of a home, a showing may last a few minutes or a few hours. But a buyer who allocates the necessary time and resources to analyze a residence during a showing may be better equipped than others to make an informed decision about a house.
3. A home showing is one of many steps during the homebuying journey.
If a home showing is successful, a buyer may be inclined to submit an offer to purchase. Or, if a showing reveals a house fails to hit the mark with a buyer, this individual can continue his or her pursuit of the perfect residence.
Lastly, when it comes to setting up home showings, it often helps to hire a real estate agent. This housing market professional will make it simple for a buyer to navigate the property buying journey.
A real estate agent will schedule home showings for buyers and keep buyers up to date about open house events. Plus, a real estate agent will help a buyer submit an offer to purchase a home and ensure that a buyer can seamlessly acquire his or her ideal residence.
Reach out to a real estate agent today, and you can kick off the homebuying journey.
The decision to purchase a second home may be one of the biggest choices you will make in your lifetime. As such, it is important to consider all of the factors associated with a house purchase before you embark on a quest to acquire a second residence.
Now, let's take a look at three key factors to evaluate as you weigh the pros and cons of purchasing a second home.
1. Your Current House
Consider the state of your current house – you will be happy you did. If you assess your current residence, you may be better equipped than ever before to determine if now is a good time to start a search for a second house.
For instance, if your home needs a new roof or requires other repairs, you may want to complete these improvements first. After these house repairs are finished, you then can kick off a search for your second house. Perhaps most importantly, you can launch this home search with the reassurance that your current house is in good shape and likely won't require significant repairs in the near future.
2. Your Finances
If you still have a mortgage on your current house, you may want to focus on paying that off first. Once your mortgage is paid in full, you can conduct a search for a second house without having to worry about paying two mortgages at once.
Of course, if your current house's mortgage is paid in full, you should still evaluate your finances closely. Ensure you have sufficient finances to cover a mortgage for a second house, as well as your everyday expenses. By doing so, you can hone your search for a second house to residences that fall within your price range.
3. Your Immediate and Long-Term Plans
Think about why you want to buy a second home in the first place. Then, you can determine how this decision may impact your immediate and long-term term plans.
For example, if you want to return to college, buying a second home may affect how much money you have at your disposal that you can use to go back to school. On the other hand, if you hope to get a work promotion in the foreseeable future, you soon may have additional funds to help you make your dream of owning a second home come true.
As you decide whether to launch the search for a second house, take some time to consult with a real estate agent. A real estate agent is a homebuying expert, and he or she can provide housing market insights that you may struggle to obtain elsewhere. Plus, a real estate agent will guide you along the homebuying journey and can help you acquire a top-notch house at a budget-friendly price.
Account for these factors before you start your search, that way you can make an informed decision about whether now is the ideal time to pursue a second residence.
If you intend to find your dream house, it helps to establish a homebuying strategy. That way, you can enter the real estate market with a plan in place to accomplish your desired goals.
Now, let's take a look at three tips to help you craft an effective homebuying strategy.
1. Create Homebuying Criteria
If you know where you want to reside, you can narrow your house search. As a result, you may be better equipped than other buyers to accelerate the homebuying journey.
Creating a list of home must-haves and wants usually is a great starting point for homebuyers. This list typically forces homebuyers to think about what separates an ordinary residence from a dream house. And once a homebuyer crafts a list of home must-haves and wants, this buyer can search for residences that meet his or her expectations.
2. Budget for a Home
In most instances, homebuyers lack the necessary financing to buy a house. Luckily, lenders are available that can help a homebuyer assess mortgage options and get pre-approved for home financing.
Budgeting for a home is a major part of the homebuying process. Because if you know exactly how much you can spend on a residence, you could speed up your house search.
To get pre-approved for a mortgage, you should meet with a variety of banks and credit unions. Then, when you find the right mortgage, you can enter the real estate market with a budget at your disposal.
3. Hire a Real Estate Agent
There is no requirement to hire a real estate agent before you pursue your dream house. Yet the advantages of hiring a real estate agent can be significant, and perhaps it is easy to understand why.
For homebuyers, a real estate agent takes the guesswork out of finding the right house at the right price. A real estate agent also collaborates with a homebuyer and will go above and beyond the call of duty to ensure a buyer can achieve the optimal results.
If you want to purchase a house as quickly as possible, it may be a good idea to hire a real estate agent sooner rather than later. Oftentimes, a real estate agent will meet with you and learn about your homebuying aspirations. He or she next will work with you to craft a homebuying strategy and launch a successful house search.
Furthermore, a real estate agent is a housing market expert who will help you overcome any potential homebuying hurdles. A real estate agent understands the challenges associated with purchasing a house and will help you identify and address such issues before they escalate. And if you ever have concerns or questions as you search for your ideal residence, a real estate agent will respond to them.
Enter the real estate market with a plan in hand – take advantage of the aforementioned tips, and you can create an effective strategy to streamline your search for your dream residence.