There is no financial decision you can make during the course of your life that is more significant than buying a home. It’s impact on everything from your credit score to your household budget makes every difference in your lifestyle.
Set yourself up for success by planning for the process ahead of time. Here are 5 real estate tips every home buyer should know.
1. Bad Credit Isn’t a Dealbreaker
Bad credit shaming is nothing new. But when it prevents you from making a complicated decision like buying a home, it can be a major problem.
For one thing, bad credit is a spectrum. There are credit scores where it’s not a fantastic idea to buy a home and then there are those where you’re somewhere on the cusp.
People with moderately bad credit can usually pull themselves up by their bootstraps if they’re willing to make a few sacrifices. For starters, you can get into certain loan programs by agreeing to put more money down on a house.
This is especially true of FHA loans where borrowers with scores as low as 500 can get homes if they can fork over a larger down payment. Guard against believing your financial history needs to be perfect in order to get into a home.
2. It’s Not a Marriage
One common misconception about buying a home is that everything about the process is permanent. That 30 year mortgage term sounds like a lifetime and you sweat just thinking of whether you can keep a financial commitment that long.
But as with everything else in your home, your mortgage loan can get a complete makeover through a refinance. A refinance replaces your current mortgage with a new one.
Usually, there are stipulations in place like there has to be equity in your home for you to qualify. Mortgage loans aren’t permanent choices.
Holding off on your dream home in hopes that interest rates will fall will only set yourself up for further stress. There’s no guarantee a seller will hold a property while you sit on the sidelines.
Think strategically about the mortgage you choose, but remain flexible so you aren’t missing out on an opportunity that is important to you.
3. It Is a Lifestyle
When you buy a new home, you buy into a lifestyle. You’re not going to be the guy that brings block parties to a suburban neighborhood of retirees.
You have to inspect everything from local schools to the drive to your favorite restaurant. Everything about the location and neighborhood will shape your comfort until you sell your house.
Think of your top five activities and make sure they’re possible with ease in the new place. If the neighborhood isn’t dog or kid friendly, skip it.
You don’t want your child missing out on trick or treating for years to come because all your neighbors are over 95. Find a home in a place where you see yourself getting off work and unwinding with little to no friction.
4. Shop for a Realtor
Every realtor is your best friend when you’re buying a new home. But do they answer emails? Does your realtor rush you through showings or to make a quick decision?
These ugly traits won’t show themselves on a first meeting. You’ll need to interview several realtors before entrusting them to find your next lifestyle for you.
Never sign an exclusive contract until you’re in love with the realtor you find. They may warn that they can’t find you properties, but it’s a risk you’ll have to take.
They can’t tie up months of your life doing mediocre work while your dream home is somewhere out there without the love it deserves. Ask your realtor to give you a few weeks while you adjust to the process of home buying.
Let them know you have specific needs and want to take things slow before getting into an exclusive relationship. A top producing realtor won’t have trouble with this arrangement because they’re confident they can offer the best service.
5. Ignore Real Estate Tips
Ignore real estate tips from friends, coworkers and anyone else who doesn’t own a house. They’re basically just gossiping about the process based on TV shows, stories or random news headlines.
You want advice from qualified real estate professionals while going through the home buying process. If you do accept the advice of a friend, make sure they’re in a situation you want to mirror.
Did they get through the closing process faster than average? Did their realtor seem especially helpful leaving them with the best possible upgrades in their home?
Ask people for real estate tips whose success you want to emulate. Get referrals to their closing team, realtor or home inspector.
If they’re in a neighborhood you’re craving, ask politely about their financial profiles. The easiest way to learn whether or not you’re out of your league is to get facts.
Avoid speculating based on what kind of car someone drives or how much you think they earn per year. The facts equip you with real knowledge to accomplish your goals.
Home Buyer Success
Follow real estate tips that keep you from going into the process feeling discouraged. There are many ways to buy a home and none of them are permanent.
Think of the lifestyle you want and not just the house’s features when shopping for a home. The neighborhood will play just as much of an impact on your life as the inside of your home.
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