Form a solid relationship with your realtor
We were very lucky with our first home purchase in that we were able to team up with a super awesome realtor who understood us, our needs, and our personality. If you don’t mesh and the realtor does not understand your needs it will be very difficult them to help you find your home. When building that relationship be sure that you both are able to communicate clearly and in a timely manner.
Know your price range
Before even starting the home search most realtors will require you to get a pre-approval from your lender to ensure you are ready and able to purchase a home in your price range. Remember that just because you are approved for a loan of a certain amount does not mean that you can actually afford that home. Keep in mind that as a homeowner you will incur many more expenses that you may have not needed to worry about as a renter. (Repairs, replacement appliances, maintenance, ect.) Purchasing a condo or townhouse? Don’t forget to factor the HOA fees.
Know your community
Once you’ve decided you want to buy a house the next thing you need to decide is where. Use sites like Realtor.com or Truilla.com to get an idea of what houses go for in the areas you are interested in. Be very clear with your realtor about the areas
Know what you want
So you know what you have to spend and the area you are interested in; now its time to decide what you need. Generally speaking, its not financially wise to purchase a home if you plan on moving in two or three years; so when you put together your requirements think about the future. Decide how many bedrooms and living areas you need as well as if you need a garage, yard, pool, patio, ect.
Know what you can live without
Depending on your area of the county and your price range you may have to make some sacrifices. Maybe to get the three bedroom home you want you may have to settle for only a one car garage or a house without a patio. Sit down and discuss what items are very important and what is non-essential. This also means be realistic; you can’t get everything on a shoestring budget, but you can get something.
Once you start the search be diligent with reviewing homes regularly
Right now we are in a seller’s market. Homes are going fast (Mine sold in hours.) and you don’t want to fall in love with a home but wait too long to put in an offer and lose it. Keep up to date with new homes in the MLS that meet your needs and plan to see new homes regularly. Once you start looking at homes be ready to put an offer in the moment you find one you love. Even after you’ve put in an offer (before it is accepted), keep an eye our for your next option.
Have a plan for your offer
When you find the perfect home and decide to make an offer, time is of the essence. Have documents from your lender ready as well as easy access to however much you plan to put down as earnest money. This is money towards closing costs that the buyer puts down when they sign the contact. This money is generally held in escrow and most often can be returned to the buyer if the deal falls through. Know any contingencies you must place on the offer as well as how long of a closing period you need.
After that its a waiting game! Check back next week for my post on sealing the deal and getting your next home under contract. Follow up Facebook for updates on new posts!