Get Pre-Approved for a Home Loan Early
Obtaining pre-approval with a bank or mortgage lender as soon as possible to ensure you know how much house you can afford and start your home search. This will also help you stay within your budget and help you have more purchasing power by allowing you to go above asking while staying in your budget.
Check Your Credit Scores and Put Away Your Credit Cards
You should check your credit scores and address an outstanding balances or issues. Credit score changes can take time, so make sure you give yourself plenty of time to fix any errors or issues. You should also consider putting a hold on any additional spending, as this can increase your debt-to-income ratio and limit your purchasing power. This will also help you add a buffer for closing costs, your down payment, moving costs or any renovations once you buy.
Keep an Open Mind
While you probably don’t have the same skill set as Joanna and Chip Gaines, you still might still wind up with a fixer-upper thanks to those inventory constraints. A solid first-time homebuyer tip: Think beyond the features of the property (you can always remodel or renovate later) and focus on the neighborhood, considering items like crime, school quality, commute time and local amenities. Your agent can set you up to receive email alerts about homes that fit your criteria from their Multiple Listing Service platform.
Hire an Experienced Real Estate Agent or Realtor
Navigating the homebuying process can feel overwhelming and stress, but an experienced real estate agent or Realtor will guide you through the process and advocate for your best interests. They’ll ensure you get to the closing table with confidence. Reach out to colleagues, friends, and relatives for real estate agent recommendations. Interview at least three different agents and ask questions to gauge each agent’s knowledge of the local housing market. Check online reviews to see what past clients have to say about their experiences.
Make a Strong Purchase Offer
Once you’ve found “the one”. it’s time to submit an offer. In today’s competitive market, you might consider offering more than the asking price (if you can afford it) or limiting your contingencies. These are certain conditions that must be met for the deal to proceed such as needing to sell your current home first or a home inspection revealing major issues.
Other ways to make your offer stand out:
· Include your mortgage preapproval letter and earnest money deposit.
· Write a personalized buyer letter explaining why you love the home.
· Spell out your closing date in writing.
· Act quickly and communicate often.