Lynn Rand's Blog
Buying a house is never a simple decision. Aside from all of the financial aspects of purchasing a home, there are numerous life-related considerations you’ll need to think about. So, it comes as little surprise that diving head on into the house hunting process can be stressful and taxing to the home buyer.
With all of the different numbers to keep track of--a down payment, closing costs, credit scores, interest rates, and so on--it’s easy to get lost in the finer details of your budget. This can lead to even more stress as you try to navigate your way through getting approved for a mortgage and shopping for the perfect home.
In this article, we’re going to give you some tips on how to maintain your budget and reduce stress throughout the home buying process. That way, when you do finally find the house you’ve been waiting for, you’ll be able to move forward confidently.
Trust the process
Many first-time home buyers enter the real estate market with little knowledge or experience of how things work. Any newcomer to such a huge and complex industry is bound to be flustered with all of the different options available to them.
However, much of the home buying process is relatively standardized. Real estate agents all make roughly the same commission, lenders use similar algorithms to decide how much of a loan you’ll be approved for, and real estate contracts contain legal safeguards and contingencies to ensure that you and the seller’s interests are protected.
When shopping for a mortgage or getting pre-approved, it’s a good idea to ask friends, family, or read reviews online to find someone you know you can trust. From there, rely on the experts to lead you through the process.
Have a long-term plan
Much of the stress and anxiety around buying a home comes from the uncertainty of the future. Sitting down with your family and significant other and deciding your long-term goals for homeownership is a good way to build confidence and know that you’re making the right choice.
Determining things like location, the number of years you want to live in a home, and what priorities are the most important (school districts, neighborhood safety, etc.) will help you make that plan a reality.
Use the tools at your disposal
If you’re reading this article, you already have started to take advantage of one of the most important resources you have, the internet. Look up real estate terminology you’re unfamiliar with, read up on the different types of mortgages, and take advantage of free online calculators to create what-if scenarios to find out what you might end up paying in closing costs and interests.
It’s also a good idea to check your credit score for free online. You can check your official reports once per year, but for simple credit checks you can look it up each month for free.
Knowing that you’re in good hands with a lender and agent, that you have a basic understanding of industry terms, that you have a long-term plan, and that your finances are in order will all help set your mind at ease and give you confidence as you move forward toward homeownership.
Pursuing a house can be difficult, regardless of the current housing market's conditions. Thankfully, homebuyers who plan ahead may be better equipped than others to enjoy a quick, seamless and successful homebuying experience.
Ultimately, there are many reasons to prepare for buying a house, and these include:
1. You can determine where you want to live.
A homebuyer who knows where he or she wants to live can tailor a home search accordingly. As a result, this buyer can speed up the process of acquiring his or her dream residence.
When it comes to planning ahead to buy a home, it generally helps to know where you want to go. If you make a checklist of home must-haves and wants, you may be able to hone your home search to specific cities and towns. Then, you can pursue residences in these areas and find your dream house faster than ever before.
2. You can enter the housing market with a budget in hand.
You know that you want to buy a house, but you still have no idea how you will pay for a residence. Fortunately, if you plan ahead for the homebuying journey, you can get your finances in order and enter the real estate market with a budget at your disposal.
Generally, it is a good idea to get pre-approved for a mortgage prior to pursuing a residence. A mortgage provides you with a set limit that you can spend on a house. Thus, a mortgage can help you minimize the risk that you'll spend beyond your means to acquire your dream residence.
Obtaining a mortgage can be quick and easy too. Meet with banks and credit unions, and these financial institutions can teach you about a broad array of mortgage options. Next, you can choose a mortgage and kick off your home search.
3. You can find an expert real estate agent to help you along the homebuying journey.
If you plan to enter the housing market, you may want to hire an expert real estate agent sooner rather than later. With an expert real estate agent at your side, you can streamline the homebuying cycle.
A real estate agent knows exactly what it takes to purchase a superb residence at a price that fits your budget. He or she first will learn about your homebuying goals and provide insights into the local housing market. This housing market professional then can customize a home search to ensure that you can achieve your desired results.
Let's not forget about the comprehensive support that a real estate agent delivers throughout the homebuying journey, either. A real estate agent will set up home showings and offer homebuying recommendations at each stage of the homebuying journey. And if you discover your ideal residence, a real estate agent will help you put together a competitive offer.
There are many great reasons to plan ahead for the homebuying journey. And if you start planning today, you may be able to enjoy a stress-free homebuying experience.
What does it take to acquire a top-notch home in a seller's market? Ultimately, it may prove to be a lot of work, especially for first-time homebuyers.
In a seller's market, there is an abundance of homebuyers and a shortage of home sellers. As a result, high-quality houses sell quickly, and homebuyers who lack real estate insights may miss out on an opportunity to purchase their dream residence.
Lucky for you, we're here to teach you about the ins and outs of a seller's market and ensure you can secure a first-rate house in any housing market, at any time.
Now, let's take a look at three tips for homebuyers who want to purchase a house in a seller's market.
1. Understand Your Homebuying Needs
Know what you want to find in a dream home before you start checking out properties. That way, you can narrow your home search and pounce on new homebuying opportunities as soon as they become available.
Creating a list of must-haves for your dream home may prove to be a great idea. This list will enable you to refine your home search and accelerate the homebuying process.
Also, consider your immediate and long-term home needs. If you plan to raise a family in a new home, you may want to consider exploring houses that are close to schools. Or, if you don't own a car but work in a major city, you may want to assess properties near public transportation.
2. Examine Your Finances Closely
Let's face it – the temptation to outbid rival homebuyers can be overwhelming in a seller's market. However, homebuyers who understand what they can afford can map out their home search accordingly.
Get pre-approved for a mortgage before you start looking at homes in a seller's market – you'll be glad you did. With a mortgage in hand, you'll know what you can spend on a new house and tailor your home search based on your budget.
Don't forget to meet with several banks and credit unions to explore all of your mortgage options as well. By doing so, you can learn about different mortgage options and select the right one based on your finances.
3. Work with a Real Estate Agent
A real estate agent understands that buying a home in a seller's market can be exceedingly difficult. As such, he or she will do everything possible to help you purchase a great residence at an affordable price.
Collaborating with a real estate agent is a must, especially for homebuyers who are operating in a seller's market. A real estate agent can set up home showings and negotiate with home sellers on your behalf. Plus, he or she can keep you up to date about new houses that will meet or surpass your expectations.
Buying a home should be a fast, easy process, even for homebuyers who are searching for a residence in a seller's market. Thanks to the aforementioned tips, you should have no trouble navigating a seller's market and acquiring a superb residence.
Purchasing a condo should be fast and easy. However, negotiations with a condo seller can quickly become stressful and may put your chances to acquire your dream condo in danger.
Lucky for you, we're here to help you simplify the process of negotiating with a condo seller to ensure you can purchase your ideal property.
Here are three tips to help you navigate tough negotiations with a condo seller.
1. Consider the Condo Seller's Perspective
Think about the condo seller's perspective and try to find common ground with this individual. By doing so, you and the condo seller may be able to agree to terms that meet the needs of both sides.
When you initially submit an offer on a condo, ensure your proposal accounts for the condo's condition and the current state of the real estate market. That way, you'll be able to avoid the risk of submitting a "lowball" offer that falls below a condo seller's expectations.
Also, maintain open lines of communication throughout the negotiation process. This will allow you to listen to a condo seller's concerns and respond accordingly.
2. Collect Plenty of Housing Market Data
If a condo seller believes you are unwilling to pay a sufficient price for his or her condo, it is always a good idea to present housing market data to back up your offer.
Explore the housing market closely to learn about the prices of comparable condos in nearby cities and towns. This will allow you to see how a particular condo stacks up against similar properties in terms of price and condition.
In addition, check out the prices of recently sold condos in your area to identify housing market patterns and trends. With this real estate market information at your disposal, you'll be able to make an informed decision about whether to continue to negotiate with a condo seller or consider other properties.
3. Collaborate with a Real Estate Agent
A real estate agent will negotiate with a condo seller on your behalf. Therefore, he or she will help you minimize the stress and anxiety that is commonly associated with condo negotiations.
Typically, a real estate agent will submit an offer on a condo and wait to hear back from a condo seller. If a condo seller decides to negotiate, a real estate agent will work with you throughout the negotiation process.
A real estate agent will listen to your condo buying concerns and questions and respond immediately. He or she also will provide honest, unbiased recommendations to help you make informed decisions during negotiations with a condo seller. This real estate professional will even share your concerns with a condo seller to help you get the best results possible.
When it comes to a negotiating with a condo seller, there is no need to worry. If you collaborate with a real estate agent, you can take the guesswork out of condo negotiations. And ultimately, you may be able to move one step closer to buying a condo that meets or exceeds your expectations.
Closing costs are usually an unavoidable part of buying a home. While there are ways to reduce some closing costs and fees, they are an expense you will likely have to consider when it comes time to save for a home.
On average, buyers can expect to pay between 2 and 5 percent of the purchase price in closing costs and fees.
In this article, we’re going to break down those costs and talk about some ways to plan for, or limit, the fees associated with closing on a home.
A breakdown of closing costs
Most closing costs in a real estate transaction are paid for by the buyer. When getting approved for a mortgage, your lender is required to provide you with an estimate of the closing costs. This is called a “Closing Disclosure statement” which overviews the details of your loan.
Different lenders will charge varying amounts in fees. Some are even willing to waive certain fees. But, we’ll discuss that later.
For now, let’s focus on the closing costs buyers typically have to pay:
Attorney fees - a flat-fee or hourly rate depending on the attorney
Origination fees - an upfront fee charged by the lender for processing your mortgage application
Prepaid interest or discount points - a payment for the interest that will accrue on your mortgage from the time you close until your first mortgage payment is due
Home inspection fee - the fee that a professional home inspector charges to inspect a home
Escrow deposits - Usually split with the seller, this is the fee charged by an escrow agent
Recording fees - fees for legally recording the new deed and mortgage
Underwriting fees - fees paid to the lender for researching your mortgage case and determining whether or not to approve your application
These are just some of the many fees that can be due upon closing on a home. Depending on where you live, which lender you choose, and the type of mortgage you secure, your closing costs will vary, so it’s a good idea to shop around for a lender and mortgage type with reasonable closing costs.
Reducing closing costs
Some lenders offer no-cost, or low-cost mortgages. However, these savings often come with a higher interest rate which, over the lifespan of your loan, can cost you more in the long run.
You should also be aware of the different loan types that you may be eligible for. FHA loans, USDA loans, and VA loans are all designed for buyers hoping to make lower down payments on their home.
Each loan type provides different amounts due at closing. Fortunately, your mortgage lender will be able to give you an estimate of costs for each loan type.
Want to get an estimate of the closing costs you’ll have to pay when you buy a home? You can use this online calculator to see an average.