It is extremely important to know how much home you can afford. There is no worst feeling than finding your dream home and not being able to purchase it due to fund limitations. Most realtors will advise you to have a minimum of twenty percent (20%) of the sale price saved up for a down payment. That is a complete misconception as first time home buyers can purchase properties with as low as three percent (3%) down.
Another critical component of this cash preparation is to obtain pre-approval from a mortgage lender for the difference of the sale price and your down payment (if you don’t plan on paying the full price in cash). Learn more about the pre-approval process here.
Location, Location, Location.
By this stage in your life, you’ve definitely heard the saying location, location, location. If not, well here it is: location, location, location.
Knowing what area you want to reside in is of utmost importance. By having the location identified, you can focus your time and energy in searching it. Most buyers struggle in figuring out where they want to live. In the best school district? Near their place of employment? Close to friends and family? Parks? Beaches? New communities? The list of factors is exhaustive. Therefore, take some time now and figure out what is most important to you for your new home’s location.
Features and Amenities
Swimming pool for the 12 months of Houston summer? Neighborhood parks and trails? Open concept kitchen and family room? Pet friendly community?
That is a mini-list of features that most buyers consider on their wish list. Here is a check list to help you get started on prioritizing your wants.
Hire a Real Estate Agent, or a Realtor?
Wait! Isn’t a real estate agent and a realtor the same thing? In all simplicity, the answer is no. Realtors are held to a much higher standard in the industry than just plain ‘ol real estate agents. Realtors abide by the National Association of Realtors (NAR’s) Code of Ethics and Standards of Practice found here. Take a moment to review this code of ethics and make sure you contract a Realtor for all your real estate needs.
Make an Irresistible Offer
Now that you’ve got cash in hand (or mortgage lender’s approval), your new home location determined, and the wish list ironed out, your Realtor will show you all the properties that fit your needs. Once you pick a few that interest you, your Realtor will perform a comparative market analysis (CMA) to determine fair market price for those listings.
Lastly, the moment of truth! After detailed review of the CMA results and weighing all the property’s features and amenities, your Realtor will prepare an irresistible offer to the Sellers on your behalf! Followed by a few phone calls, emails, face to face meetings, and sleepless nights, the deal is closed and you are moving into your new home!