Amy Uliss' Blog
Few things are more exciting than buying a house and making it your home. Knowing when it’s the right time to buy derives from your personal circumstances, but some external elements and market realities affect when it’s right to buy too.
Here are some of the things that can affect your decision to purchase a home, and the timing to do it.
- Interest rates. Right now, interest rates are low, making housing affordable. Keeping an eye on rates can save you money. You can get pre-approval for a mortgage that locks in a low rate, so check out the programs offered by various lenders to see which one has the most useful option for you.
- Inventory levels. Listed homes in your area that fit your budget, and your criteria, ebb and flow. Develop a relationship with a qualified real estate market specialist to keep tabs on inventory levels, so you know when to buy.
- Increased prices. Supply and demand drive up prices, so if prices begin to increase it may be time to step into the market. Again, your real estate agent can keep you apprised of price fluctuations in the market.
- Income levels. You might simply be waiting for a promised raise or that bonus to plump up your down-payment cache. When that’s the case, notify your agent of your expectation and the timing so that they begin looking for you just ahead of when you’re ready to make the purchase.
- Income tax refunds. Although using the IRS as a savings account is a poor financial strategy, sometimes, you end up with a bigger refund than you’d anticipated. When that happens, and you receive the extra funds, it might be time to make homeownership a reality.
- Investments. When an investment gives you an unexpected return, it might be time to reinvest it into a home.
If any of these are true, you may be financially ready. When making any financial decision—especially huge ones such as buying a home—it's essential to contemplate the reason behind your decision. What do you believe a home provides you? How does it fit into your future goals? Are you willing to tie up your funds in a non-liquid investment? Are you prepared to handle the maintenance? Do you have time for upkeep?
When you feel positive about your answers, reach out to your agent for advice, and to start looking for your new home.
Although you might have entered the housing market with a strategy to help you streamline your search for your dream home, it is important to remember that even the best-laid plan may need to be changed. And if you fail to discover your ideal residence after a comprehensive search, now may be a great time to revise your homebuying strategy.
Let's take a look at three tips to help you revamp your homebuying plan.
1. Consider Your Home Must-Haves and Wants
Creating a list of home must-haves and wants may be done at the start of a house search. Over time, however, this list may evolve. And if you update your list, you may be better equipped than ever before to reenter the real estate market with a fresh perspective.
Think about where you want to live in the foreseeable future too. Then, you can narrow your home search to specific cities and towns and accelerate the homebuying journey.
2. Review Your Budget
If you recently paid off your student loans or eliminated your credit cards, you may want to reassess your homebuying budget. That way, you can hone your house search and explore residences that fall within your up-to-date price range.
Of course, if you have yet to get pre-approved for a mortgage, you can still do so. Meet with banks and credit unions to learn about all of the mortgage options that are available. This will enable you to gain the insights you need to select a mortgage that matches your finances.
3. Learn About the Housing Market
The housing market may favor buyers or sellers. And if you have been searching for your dream home for several weeks or months, the market may have changed.
It does not take long for a buyer's market to become a seller's market, or vice-versa. As you consider your homebuying options, you should study the local real estate sector closely to determine whether the current housing market favors buyers or sellers.
Evaluating the prices of recently sold houses in a particular city or town usually is a good idea. This housing market data will enable you to find out whether sellers are receiving offers at or near their initial home asking prices.
You also should find out how long current residences in a particular city or town have been listed. If houses linger on the real estate market for an extended period of time, you may be operating in a market that favors buyers. Or, if homes are selling quickly, you may be operating in a seller's market.
Lastly, hiring a real estate agent often is helpful, particularly for homebuyers who are struggling to identify the perfect residence. A real estate agent can offer lots of tips as you conduct your search for your dream residence. Plus, if you need to revamp your homebuying strategy, a real estate agent will make it easy for you to do just that.
As a condo buyer, it is important to find a property that matches or surpasses your expectations. At the same time, you'll want to do everything possible to avoid paying too much for a condo.
What does it take to shop for a condo and avoid the risk of spending too much to acquire your dream residence? Here are three tips to ensure you can pay the right price for any condo, at any time.
1. Browse the Real Estate Market Closely
An informed condo buyer will be able to differentiate a mediocre property from a great one. Plus, this condo buyer will know what it takes to avoid paying too much for a property that is unlikely to deliver long-lasting value.
Take a close look at the current housing market to understand the prices of condos in various cities and towns. By doing so, you can determine the price range for condos that fit your needs.
Don't forget to check out the prices of recently sold condos in your area too. That way, you can understand how long condos typically are available before they sell and map out your condo buying journey accordingly.
2. Get Pre-Approved for a Mortgage
Pre-approval for a mortgage will allow you to define how much you can spend on a condo. It also will enable you to reduce the risk of stretching beyond your financial means to acquire your dream condo.
To get pre-approved for a mortgage, you'll want to meet with several banks and credit unions before you kick off your condo search. This will allow you to learn about both fixed- and adjustable-rate mortgages and the pros and cons associated with these mortgages.
Furthermore, don't be afraid to ask lenders how different types of mortgages work, as this will enable you to select a mortgage that corresponds with your budget both now and in the future.
3. Consult with a Real Estate Agent
Employ a real estate agent to assist you along the condo buying process – you'll be happy you did. This real estate professional will do what it takes to help you land an exceptional condo at a budget-friendly price.
A real estate agent understands the differences between a buyer's market and a seller's one. As such, he or she can offer tips at each stage of the condo buying process, ensuring you can buy a top-notch condo without spending too much.
In addition, a real estate agent will take the guesswork out of going from condo buyer to condo owner. This housing market professional will set up condo showings, negotiate with condo sellers on your behalf and much more. That way, you can accelerate the process of acquiring a great condo.
Buying a condo at an affordable price may seem impossible at times, but a real estate agent will make it simple for you to do just that. Consult with a real estate agent today, and you can improve your chances of securing a condo without the risk of overspending.
A home showing is a valuable opportunity for a buyer, as it enables him or her to walk through a residence and find out what a house is all about. At the same time, a single home showing may be insufficient.
Ultimately, there are many reasons why you may want to schedule a follow-up house showing, and these include:
1. You can get responses to any unanswered home questions.
A second home showing gives you the chance to gain additional insights into a residence. Thus, if you failed to get answers to certain home questions during an initial showing, you may want to schedule a follow-up showing.
Of course, it often helps to craft a list of questions prior to a showing. This list will help you learn about all aspects of a residence.
2. You can analyze any potential problem areas in-detail.
If you want to get a close look at various home issues, you may want to schedule a second showing. That way, you can assess these problems in-detail and determine your next step in the homebuying journey.
Sometimes, it helps to bring a home improvement professional with you during a house showing. If you have a friend or family member who is a home improvement expert, for example, you may want to bring him or her along for a follow-up property showing. This home improvement expert then can provide comprehensive insights into the condition of the house.
3. You can determine if a house matches your expectations.
If you are still on the fence about a home following an initial showing, it never hurts to take a second look at this house in-person. Because if you attend a second home showing and find a house matches your expectations, you then can submit an offer to purchase this residence. On the other hand, if you discover a home is not a great fit for you during a second property showing, you can continue your search for your dream residence.
As you navigate the homebuying journey, it generally is a good idea to hire a real estate agent, too. This housing market professional will go above and beyond the call of duty to help you find a terrific residence that you can enjoy for years to come.
Typically, a real estate agent will teach you about the homebuying journey and offer tips to help you prepare for property showings. He or she also will attend a home showing with you and respond to your concerns and questions. Plus, if you want to schedule a follow-up home showing or submit an offer to purchase a residence, a real estate agent is happy to help.
When it comes to navigating the homebuying journey, it usually is beneficial to err on the side of caution. Therefore, if you strive to learn as much as possible about a home after an initial showing, you should schedule a follow-up showing. By doing so, you can perform a full home analysis and determine if a house is right for you.
The homebuying journey may require many weeks or months to complete. As you approach the finish line of this journey, there are lots of things you can do to ensure a seamless conclusion.
Now, let's take a look at three tips to help you quickly finalize a home purchase.
1. Conduct a Home Inspection
A home inspection generally is performed after a seller approves your offer to purchase his or her residence. At this time, a home inspector will walk through a house and identify any underlying problems. Next, a home inspector will provide you with a report that details his or her findings.
For homebuyers, it is important to review a home inspection report closely. If a home inspector identifies major problems with a residence, you may want to modify your initial offer to purchase or rescind your homebuying proposal.
You also should attend a home inspection. Although you are not required to attend an inspection, doing so may enable you to gain insights into a home that are not included in a house inspector's report. Then, you can use all of the insights at your disposal to determine whether to proceed with a home purchase.
2. Maintain Flexibility
You may want to close on a home by a specific date, yet the homebuying process offers no guarantees. Delays may happen without notice, and you need to be able to adjust your homebuying timeline accordingly. As such, you should maintain flexibility as you try to finalize your transaction.
Remember, both you and a home seller share a common goal – to complete a property transaction as quickly as possible. If you maintain open lines of communication with a seller, you can reduce the risk of miscommunications that otherwise could slow down the homebuying journey.
3. Collaborate with a Real Estate Agent
Navigating the homebuying journey is rarely simple, particularly for individuals who want to acquire a terrific house at a budget-friendly price. Thankfully, you can collaborate with a real estate agent to achieve the best-possible results throughout the homebuying cycle.
A real estate agent will learn about you and your homebuying goals and do everything possible to make your homeownership dream come true. He or she is happy to provide recommendations and suggestions as you conduct a home search. And when you find your dream residence, a real estate agent can help you put together a competitive offer to purchase it.
Of course, a real estate agent provides comprehensive assistance during the final stages of the homebuying journey as well. Reaching a home closing date may seem impossible at times, but a real estate agent helps take the guesswork out of finalizing a house purchase. Therefore, he or she will go above and beyond the call of duty to ensure you can reach your home closing date without delay.
Simplify the process of buying a house – use the aforementioned tips, and you can minimize the risk of encountering homebuying hurdles and streamline the homebuying journey.