Marc LeBlanc's Blog
Purchasing a home in a buyer's market may seem like a fast, simple process. However, it is important to realize that homebuyers constantly compete for the best residences in cities and towns nationwide. And if you're not careful, you risk missing out on an opportunity to acquire your dream house.
What does it take to secure a home in a buyer's market? Here are three tips to ensure that you can do just that.
1. Study the Housing Market Closely
A buyer's market features a large assortment of top-notch residences and a shortage of property buyers. As such, this market heavily favors homebuyers, and property buyers who examine the real estate market closely may be able to boost their chances of purchasing a terrific house at a budget-friendly price.
For homebuyers, it is essential to establish criteria for your dream residence. With homebuying criteria at your disposal, you can narrow your search for the ideal residence and accelerate the homebuying process.
Don't forget to check out homes in-person, either. If you set up a home showing or attend an open house, you'll be able to envision what it's like to own a home and determine whether a residence is right for you.
2. Get Pre-Approved for a Mortgage
What good is shopping for a house if you cannot afford to pay for it? Fortunately, you can get pre-approved for a mortgage to understand exactly how much you can spend on a new house.
To get pre-approved for a mortgage, you'll want to meet with several banks and credit unions. These lenders will be able to offer insights into a variety of mortgage options, respond to your mortgage concerns and questions and help you select a mortgage that suits you perfectly.
Pre-approval for a mortgage is vital for homebuyers, particularly in a buyer's market. If you have a mortgage in hand when you explore available homes, you may even be able to avoid the temptation to overspend on a residence.
3. Collaborate with a Real Estate Agent
When it comes to navigating a buyer's market, a real estate agent can deliver outstanding support.
A real estate agent can teach you about the intricacies of buying a home and help you streamline the homebuying process. He or she also will be available to respond to your homebuying questions, ensuring you can make informed decisions as the homebuying journey moves forward.
Perhaps best of all, a real estate agent can help you alleviate stress as you search for your dream home. This housing market professional will keep you up to date about new properties as they become available, set up home showings and negotiate with home sellers on your behalf. By doing so, a real estate agent enables you to focus on what's important – purchasing a first-rate house at a price that matches your budget.
Buying a home can be challenging, even in a buyer's market. But with the aforementioned tips, you can simplify the homebuying process and move closer to securing a house that meets or exceeds your expectations.
When you make the decision to buy your first home, you should be certain that you’re ready to make the leap into homeownership. There’s many different things that you should do as a buyer to get ready before you even set out on the search of a perfect home.
Choose An Agent
You may think that one real estate agent is the same as any real estate agent that you’ll find. This is far from the truth. Some agents have certain specialties. The knowledge that an agent will bring to your house hunt is often invaluable. You are making one of the biggest purchases that you’ll ever make in your lifetime. While many buyers think that they can simply do an online search themselves to find a home, your realtor will have many more resources to assist you in finding exactly what you’re looking for.
Figure Out The Financial Portion Of Buying A Home
While knowing how many bedrooms you need and where you hope to live is important, understanding your finances is even more important. You’ll need to talk to a lender to get the process started. After looking at your own personal budget, you should get pre-qualified. Getting pre-qualified allows you to see a general number of how much house you can afford. That can help you start the process, however, there’s still a few more steps.
From here, you can do what needs to be done to get your entire financial picture ready to buy a home. This includes saving for a downpayment, improving your credit score, and continuing to keep up bill payments and consistent work history.
Next, you’ll want to get pre-approved. This allows your lender to dig into your financial picture. Everything from your credit score to your income and employment history will be considered. Your lender will then give you a more definitive number of how much you’ll actually be able to get for a loan when you buy a home. To get pre-approved, be prepared with 1099 forms, pay stubs, tax returns, and bank statements. You’ll then have the concrete amount that you’re approved for along with the interest rate that you qualify for.
Once You Have Applied For A Home Loan
Once you find the realtor to assist you and secure the home of your dreams, you’re not free to head out and buy all the furniture that you need to fill up your house. The home loan must go through the underwriting process and until that is complete, your finances are essentially on lockdown. If you start opening new credit cards, decide to buy a car, or fall behind on payments, you could end up in a lot of trouble. You want to keep your credit score stable throughout the process of buying a home for smooth sailing.
Whether you're looking for your first house, a vacation home, or a retirement condo, there's always an element of excitement in finding a new place you can call your own!
Although buying and selling real estate can be stressful, especially if you've never done it before, being prepared and knowing what to expect can help keep things on an even keel.
Similar to planning a vacation or a cross-country trip, you'll want to avoid missed connections, frustrating delays, and wasted time. When it comes to buying a home, a little research, planning, and expert advice can go a long way toward ensuring a smooth journey. Here are a few specifics:
Check your credit score: Your credit rating has a major impact on your ability to successfully apply for a mortgage and be offered a relatively low interest rate. Knowing your credit rating can help you understand your options, avoid unexpected surprises, and take action to correct errors in your credit report or improve your credit profile.
Prepare a wish list: One of the keys to getting what you want in a new home is to clarify and prioritize the features that matter the most to you. Your checklist can include everything from lot size and architectural style to the reputation of the school district and proximity to stores. Some house hunters also place a high value on features like a fireplace, screened-in porch, and an open floor plan.
Find a good real estate agent: A buyers' agent can provide you with an immense amount of help in finding properties for sale that meet your specifications. They can also provide assistance, advice, and guidance on the many steps involved in going from loan applicant to new home owner. An experienced agent can also negotiate the best possible deal, in terms of price, seller concessions, and other advantages.
Meet with mortgage lenders: A crucial step in preparing to become a homeowner is understanding the mortgage application process, knowing how much banks would be willing to lend you, and determining an affordable price range. Meeting with lenders is also the first step to comparing interest rates and choosing a financial institution that would best suit your needs. Here's a helpful tip from the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau: "Getting a preapproval letter helps you show sellers that you are a serious buyer – but it doesn’t commit you to a lender."
When it comes to searching for and buying a house, probably the best advice anyone could give you is "stay the course!" Let's face it: It's easy to give up, get discouraged, or settle for a home that's less than what you really want. However, when you adopt a "stay the course" mindset, you'll do a better job of staying motivated, focused, and well organized until you find just the right home for you, your family, and your future!
Ready to kick off your search for the perfect house? You may need to find an expert real estate agent first. By doing so, you can streamline the homebuying process and discover a house that meets or exceeds your expectations.
However, selecting a real estate agent can be tricky, especially for first-time homebuyers. And if you make the incorrect choice, the risk increases that you may encounter problems as you conduct your search for the ideal residence.
We're here to take the guesswork out of finding the right real estate agent to guide you along the homebuying journey.
Now, let's take a look at four questions that every homebuyer needs to ask a real estate agent.
1. What is your real estate experience?
Learn about a real estate agent's housing market experience – you'll be glad you did. With this information at your disposal, you can find out how a real estate professional has helped past homebuyers achieve their goals.
Also, ask a real estate agent about how he or she deals with homebuying challenges. This will enable you to find out whether a real estate agent can help homebuyers through tough times, or if a real estate professional struggles when he or she is faced with homebuying hurdles.
2. How do you communicate with clients?
As a homebuyer, it is essential to find a real estate agent who is readily available. This real estate professional will keep in touch with you at each stage of the homebuying journey and ensure you can make informed decisions along the way.
A real estate agent who prioritizes communication will keep you informed about open houses and new residences as they reach the housing market. As such, this real estate agent may help you accelerate the process of going from homebuyer to homeowner.
3. Can you provide client references?
Typically, an experienced real estate agent will be able to provide client references at any time. If you get in touch with these references, you can gain firsthand insights into what it might be like if you select a particular real estate agent.
If a real estate agent cannot provide client references, this is a surefire red flag. In this scenario, you may want to consider other real estate agents who have proven they know how to deal with potential roadblocks on the homebuying journey.
4. Why should I hire you?
When it comes to finding the right real estate agent, it is important to understand how a real estate professional stands out from the crowd. By asking a real estate agent why you should hire him or her, you're sure to receive a unique response that gives you a better idea about what this real estate professional is all about.
Spend some time reviewing multiple real estate agents in your city and town. And if you use the aforementioned questions, you can boost your chances of hiring a real estate agent who can help you discover your dream residence quickly and effortlessly.
Home prices may vary greatly throughout the country. But, buying a home is most likely the largest purchase you will make in your life.
Deciding just how much to spend on your home isn’t just a matter of numbers--it also depends on your lifestyle and long-term goals.
In today’s post, I’m going to give you a few ways you can help determine how much is a safe amount to spend on your home so that you’ll feel confident moving into the home buying process that you’re making the best decision for you and your family.
Mortgage as a percent of your income
Like most large purchases, buying a home typically isn’t dependent on the amount you have in the bank. Rather, it depends on several factors including your income, credit score, and the type of lifestyle you want to maintain.
One of the simplest ways to determine how much house you can afford is to figure out what percent of your monthly income your mortgage and insurance will be.
For most homeowners, a mortgage payment that is 25% of their income or less is ideal. So, if you earn $6,000 per month, you don’t want your monthly mortgage payment to exceed $1,500.
This “25% rule” does have one flaw, however, and that does not--and cannot--account for each individual’s financial circumstances.
Let’s say, for example, that you earn $6,000 per month, but that you have a large monthly car payment and are trying to aggressively pay off your student loans. You might find that paying another $1,500 toward a mortgage on top of your current bills is bringing you over budget, especially when combined with your other monthly expenses and retirement contributions.
Plan for homeowner expenses
Another caveat to determining how much to spend on a home is that the home itself will require a budget for maintenance. When renting an apartment, repairs are mostly the responsibility of the landlord or property manager.
Homeownership, on the other hand, requires you to make the repairs yourself or hire a professional. And, if you neglect these repairs, you might find that they cost you even more in the long run or drive down the value of your home.
Create a comprehensive budget
Throughout a given person’s life, they’ll experience raises, promotions, layoffs, medical expenses, childcare costs, and any other number of financial changes. While it isn’t possible to foresee all of the financial fluctuations you’ll experience in life, it is always helpful to have a comprehensive budget.
What do I mean by “comprehensive budget”? The goal of a good budget is to know where each dollar of your income is currently going and to have a plan for each cent that you make. This is a proactive approach to budgeting that will give you an exact number for the amount you can afford when it comes to a mortgage payment.
Within your budget, it’s vital to account for things like an emergency fund, retirement, savings for vacations, and so on.
If you take this due diligence, not only will you have a better sense of where your money goes, but you’ll also be confident in knowing exactly how much you can spend on a home.