Jay LeClerc's Blog
Ultimately, there is no surefire amount that you should spend on a house. The real estate market varies in cities and towns nationwide, and as such, the prices of houses fall across a broad range. Also, the condition and age of a house – as well as a homebuyer's budget – may dictate how much an individual is willing to spend on a particular residence.
As you search for your dream house, it helps to plan ahead as much as you can. Because if you have a homebuying strategy in place, you can determine exactly how much you can spend to acquire your ideal residence.
Now, let's take a look at three tips to help you get your finances in order before you kick off a house search.
1. Check Your Credit Score
Believe it or not, your credit score may have far-flung effects on your homebuying budget. And if you fail to review your credit score before you embark on a house search, you may miss out on an opportunity to purchase your dream house.
A low credit score may make it tough to get the mortgage you need to acquire your ideal residence. Thus, you may want to check your credit score and find ways to improve it before you begin a house search.
You won't have to break your budget to get a copy of your credit report from the three credit bureaus (Equifax, Experian and TransUnion). In fact, you are entitled to a free copy of your credit report annually from each of the aforementioned credit bureaus. Request a copy of your credit report, and you can learn your credit score.
Of course, if your credit score is low, you can always improve it by paying off outstanding debt. Or, if you find errors on your credit report, contact the credit bureau that provided the report so that you can get these issues corrected.
2. Get Pre-Approved for a Mortgage
Pre-approval for a mortgage makes it easy to enter the housing market with a budget at your disposal. If you meet with a variety of banks and credit unions, you can get pre-approved for a mortgage sooner rather than later.
Remember, banks and credit unions employ friendly, knowledgeable mortgage specialists. Don't hesitate to ask these specialists about assorted mortgage options, and you can select a mortgage that perfectly matches your finances.
3. Consult with a Real Estate Agent
A real estate agent can make it simple to pursue your dream house. This housing market professional will help you narrow the price range for your dream house and ensure you can discover the perfect house without delay. Perhaps most important, a real estate agent is happy to negotiate with a seller's agent on your behalf, ensuring you can get the best price on any home.
Ready to start a home search? Use the aforementioned tips, and you can simultaneously look for your dream house and avoid the risk of paying too much to purchase your dream residence.
Ready to kick off your search for the perfect house? You may need to find an expert real estate agent first. By doing so, you can streamline the homebuying process and discover a house that meets or exceeds your expectations.
However, selecting a real estate agent can be tricky, especially for first-time homebuyers. And if you make the incorrect choice, the risk increases that you may encounter problems as you conduct your search for the ideal residence.
We're here to take the guesswork out of finding the right real estate agent to guide you along the homebuying journey.
Now, let's take a look at four questions that every homebuyer needs to ask a real estate agent.
1. What is your real estate experience?
Learn about a real estate agent's housing market experience – you'll be glad you did. With this information at your disposal, you can find out how a real estate professional has helped past homebuyers achieve their goals.
Also, ask a real estate agent about how he or she deals with homebuying challenges. This will enable you to find out whether a real estate agent can help homebuyers through tough times, or if a real estate professional struggles when he or she is faced with homebuying hurdles.
2. How do you communicate with clients?
As a homebuyer, it is essential to find a real estate agent who is readily available. This real estate professional will keep in touch with you at each stage of the homebuying journey and ensure you can make informed decisions along the way.
A real estate agent who prioritizes communication will keep you informed about open houses and new residences as they reach the housing market. As such, this real estate agent may help you accelerate the process of going from homebuyer to homeowner.
3. Can you provide client references?
Typically, an experienced real estate agent will be able to provide client references at any time. If you get in touch with these references, you can gain firsthand insights into what it might be like if you select a particular real estate agent.
If a real estate agent cannot provide client references, this is a surefire red flag. In this scenario, you may want to consider other real estate agents who have proven they know how to deal with potential roadblocks on the homebuying journey.
4. Why should I hire you?
When it comes to finding the right real estate agent, it is important to understand how a real estate professional stands out from the crowd. By asking a real estate agent why you should hire him or her, you're sure to receive a unique response that gives you a better idea about what this real estate professional is all about.
Spend some time reviewing multiple real estate agents in your city and town. And if you use the aforementioned questions, you can boost your chances of hiring a real estate agent who can help you discover your dream residence quickly and effortlessly.
In a competitive housing market--like the one we have today--sellers are fielding numerous offers, especially in desirable urban and suburban hubs.
If you’re hoping to buy your first or second home, it can be tough to make offer after offer with no success.
However, there are some things you can do to help ensure your time house hunting is well-spent and to increase your chances of getting your offer accepted.
In today’s post, I’m going to give you a few tips on how to win a bidding war on your dream home.
The most effective way to ensure that your offer is accepted is to make it in all cash. Cash offers drastically simplify the real estate transaction process, making things easier on the seller.
Most buyers, especially first-time buyers, won’t be able to make an all-cash offer on a home. However, people who are downsizing after their children moved out or are buying a retirement home may find themselves in the ideal financial situation to be able to leverage a cash offer.
If that sounds like you, consider a cash offer as part of your bidding strategy.
Waive the financing contingency
If you’re new to real estate contracts, you might be wondering what a contingency is. Essentially, a contingency is an action that needs to be completed before the contract becomes valid and the sale becomes final.
There are a number of different contingencies that can be found in a real estate contract. However, the most popular are for inspections, appraisals, and financing.
If you’re planning on taking out a mortgage to purchase the home, a financing contingency protects you in case you aren’t able to secure the mortgage in time. In other words, you’re not on the hook for a home you can’t pay for.
In some special situations, buyers might decide to waive the financing contingency, signaling to the sellers that there won’t be any hang-ups or delays from the buyer regarding financing the home.
Waiving this contingency comes with risks (namely, being responsible for coming up with the money to pay for the home). However, there are ways to safely waive a contingency.
The most common approach is to get a fully pre-approved letter from a lender. The important distinction here is that your mortgage needs to be pre-approved and underwritten (not just pre-qualified), otherwise you again risk getting denied the mortgage in the last moments before buying your home.
Crafting a personal letter
Sometimes all it takes to win a bidding war is to be the seller’s favorite candidate. Take the time to write them a personalized letter. Explain what you love about their home and why it’s perfect for your family.
Avoid talking about big changes you’ll make. Remember that they probably put a lot of time and money into the home, making it exactly the way they want it, and won’t appreciate you making huge plans to undo their work as soon as they’re out the door.
Using one, or a combination of, these three techniques, you’ll be able to give yourself an edge over the competition and increase your chances of getting your offer accepted.
Getting a professional inspection is one of the most important parts of closing on a home. An inspection can save you endless time and money if it catches repairs that need to be made, and it can draw your attention to any problems that could be dangerous to you and your family.
Many buyers, especially those who are buying a home for the first time, aren’t sure what to expect during a home inspection. They might have questions that they’re afraid to ask the inspector, or they might feel like they should be asking questions but don’t know the right ones to ask.
In this article, we’ll give you the rundown on the home inspection process. We’ll explain how to get started, what to expect on inspection day, and what to do with your findings.
Before closing on a home, it’s important to make sure your offer involves a contingency clause, otherwise known as a “due diligence contingency.” This section of your contract gives you the right to perform a home inspection within a given number of days.
Sellers may inform you that they have recently had the home inspected and even offer to show you the results of the inspection. However, it is best practice to have your own inspection performed with a trusted professional.
After your offer is accepted, you should begin calling and getting quotes from inspectors immediately.
Before the inspection
Once you’ve considered your options of inspectors and chosen an inspector, it’s time to schedule your inspection. Both you and your real estate agent should attend the inspection.
You’ll both have the opportunity to ask questions. However, it’s a good idea to write down your minor questions and ask them before or after the inspection so that the professional you’ve hired is able to focus on their work to do the best possible job inspecting your future home.
During the inspection
The inspection itself is pretty straightforward. Your inspector will examine the exterior and interior of your home, including several vital components and then will provide you with a report of their findings.
They will inform you of repairs that need to be made now, parts of the home that should be monitored for future repairs, and anything that poses a safety concern to you and your family.
The parts of your home the inspector will review include:
Heating, ventilation, air conditioning
There are some things your inspection won’t include. For example, mold, termite damage, and other issues that aren’t easily observable without causing damage might be missed by your inspector and will require a specialist.
After the inspection
Once the inspection is complete, you will have the chance to ask any remaining questions. You can review the findings of your inspection report and make decisions about how you want to handle any repairs that need to be made.
You may choose to ask the seller to make the repairs noted in your inspection report. If they refuse, you can withdraw from your contract at any time.
Ultimately, the choice will be yours what to do with the findings from the inspection. But having one can save you immeasurable money on impending repairs that you may not have been aware of.