Regardless of whether you are in a buyer’s or seller’s market, making a smart purchase is no cakewalk. As one of the biggest investments in life, it requires careful deliberation and due diligence. Namely, one has to go through the labyrinth of negotiations and a complex decision-making process, which encompasses everything from financial elements to personal circumstances. So, arm yourself with information and be prepared to cover all the bases.
A wake-up call
People fall in love with properties and go to great lengths to buy them. Letting emotions run the show, though, is not the best course of action. In fact, home buyers are better off setting them aside. Purchasing a property is a huge financial decision, so treat it as such. The first thing to do is to use a reality check and work out your buying power. Be prepared to compromise, but establish your “must haves”.
There is little doubt that financial factors have a major role to play. It is crucial to set your financial house in order before you even think of buying a brick-and-mortar one. Trying to time the market is often a futile endeavor. Instead, you should focus on when you can afford to buy. Bear in mind that bigger is not always the better, so recognize what suits your lifestyle and do not bite off more than you can chew.
Refrain from any big purchases or moving your money several months prior to buying a home. Note that apart from mortgage and down payment, you need to keep track of other expenses such as property taxes, homeowner association dues, maintenance, repairs, and utilities. So, your budget needs to be able to handle the sleeper and hidden costs. That way, you will obtain a full financial picture and avoid blowing the budget.
Market prices vary widely depending on the neighborhood. Moreover, bidding wars are common and they often lead to overly inflated prices. Nevertheless, your opening bid should be always rooted in a realistic assessment of what the property is worth. It helps to inspect the prices of similar homes in the neighborhood. Once you figure out an average price per square foot, it is much easier to locate the right home and make the appropriate offer.
Handling the mortgage
One of the chief tasks is to prove to the lenders that you are reliable and secure the best loan possible. It is a good idea to let lenders go through your financial information so that you can get pre-approved for the mortgage. Do the research and make sure you find a favorable deal with relatively low interest rates. Of course, the mortgage rate depends on your credit history and rating. A bad score is not the end of the road: To clean up the credit, one can hire loan professionals.
A professional home inspection is the best way to bring potential problems to light. An inspector provides buyers with deeper insights and accurate information to base their decisions on. Just distinguish between red flags and deal breakers on one hand and flaws and drawbacks you can let slide on the other. An unfortunate paint color choice is not a decisive factor, unlike a malfunctioning plumbing or electrical system.
Working with an agent who knows the market backward and forward is a great way to find a perfect home and make informed decisions. What is more, agents sometimes have access to exclusive listings that are not available to the general public. I relied on a Winter Garden realtor to conduct market analysis and discover suitable targets. Consequently, I was also able to factor in the appreciation of the property and consider its resale value.
The location matters
Get the good lay of the land. The home might suit your needs and wants, but what about the neighborhood? How are the crime rates and are there any problems that plague the community? Overlooking the location as a factor is never a good thing. You want to have parks, shops, malls, schools, and other amenities in the vicinity. It is also advisable to do the regular commute from the home and see if it is something you could tackle on a regular basis.
The hunt is on
Property hunting is potentially lucrative undertaking, but it could also turn out to be a budget-sinking disaster. So, shop around for the best deals and interest rates. Know exactly what you are buying and seek unbiased third-party opinion. Stalk the neighborhood and evaluate local prices. Make good use of real estate professionals to guide you through the process and you should be able to get the most bang for your buck.
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