Lorraine Kuney's Blog
It’s not always easy to move up to that dream home. Finding that special place that meets all your needs AND fulfills all your desires requires clarity on your part and diligence on the part of your real estate professional. After all, if you don’t know what you both need and what you want, your agent certainly won’t know what to look for.
The “I’ll know it when I see it” concept of house-hunting is rarely fruitful unless you define “it” clearly.
Make a list
Grab a notebook or use your smartphone to keep a list of what you need and what you want. The list will grow and even change over time, so keep the notebook with you. You'll find inspiration in something you see on the television while you wait in the dentist's office, and you need to write it down immediately.
Take a shot
You’ll walk through a store display and see "just the thing" that goes with the design in your head. Snap a picture of what you like with your phone so you have it on hand.
If while walking through an open house, a certain style connects with you, but you don’t know how to describe it, take a photo so you can show your agent. Even if that house doesn’t have ALL the things you want, some house might.
Have an open mind
If a property has most of what you want, be open to the possibility of a limited renovation to get the rest. The important thing is its bones; it’s basic structure. Some designs lend themselves to easy add-ons, but most don’t, so if the home you choose has a complicated roofline, make sure it also has the room inside to make your layout changes since adding on is more difficult. On the other hand, simple structures such as ranch-style or mid-century modern might more easily accommodate the addition you envision.
Keep options open
Consider pairing up a renovation contractor with your real estate agent to determine if your changes work with an available listing. Similar to what you see on home-buying television shows, getting a contractor’s expert eye on the property could mean the difference between finding the home with the right structure or missing out entirely getting what you really want.
Find out if your agent can suggest a reputable contractor or find one through a friend or verified listing service. Even if your dream home isn’t already out there … it can be.
A homebuyer must stay focused throughout the property buying journey. Otherwise, a buyer risks missing out on an opportunity to acquire the right house at the right price.
Now, let's take a look at three tips to help you stay on course during the homebuying journey.
1. Craft a Homebuying Strategy
Creating a homebuying strategy enables you to outline the steps that you'll need to take to make your homeownership dream come true. Plus, with a homebuying plan in place, you'll be better equipped than ever before to streamline your house search.
Think about where you want to live and what you want to find in your ideal residence. Then, you can make a checklist of home must-haves and wants. And once you develop this list, you can enter the housing market with a plan in hand.
2. Get Pre-Approved for Home Financing
Home financing plays an important role in a buyer's ability to acquire a residence. If you ignore home financing as you move along the homebuying journey, you may struggle to get the finances you need to purchase your dream house.
Oftentimes, it helps to get pre-approved for a mortgage so you won't have to worry about home financing as you move along the property buying journey. To get pre-approved for a mortgage, you should meet with a variety of banks and credit unions. That way, you can learn about all of your mortgage options and select a mortgage that matches your finances.
As you review your mortgage options, don't hesitate to ask questions. Banks and credit unions employ home financing specialists who can remove the guesswork commonly associated with getting a mortgage. These specialists are happy to respond to your mortgage concerns and questions and ensure that you can make an informed home financing decision.
3. Work with a Real Estate Agent
When it comes to staying focused during the homebuying journey, it generally is a good idea to hire a real estate agent. This housing market professional can offer plenty of assistance throughout the property buying journey. And by doing so, a real estate agent will ensure that you can seamlessly navigate the property buying journey and achieve your desired results faster than ever before.
A real estate agent understands the challenges that buyers frequently encounter when they pursue houses and can help you plan accordingly. Furthermore, a real estate agent will guide you along each stage of the homebuying journey and do everything possible to help you avoid potential pitfalls.
Also, a real estate agent provides comprehensive support as you get ready to finalize a house purchase. He or she will help you get ready for a home inspection, appraisal or closing and ensure that you can purchase your ideal house at a budget-friendly price.
Don't lose focus as you pursue your dream residence. Instead, use the aforementioned tips, and you can stay on course and accomplish your homebuying goals.
Ready to enter the real estate market for the first time? As a first-time homebuyer, you may encounter many challenges as you kick off your search for the perfect house. However, property buyers who understand these challenges will be better equipped than others to overcome such difficulties quickly and effortlessly.
Now, let's take a look at three common challenges that first-time homebuyers may face:
1. You don't know what to look for in a house.
You know you want to own a house, but how do you define your "dream" residence? Ultimately, you'll want to consider what you'd like to find in your perfect house so you can map out your real estate search accordingly.
Creating a checklist of things you'd like to have in your dream home usually represents a great starting point for first-time homebuyers. This checklist should include both "must-haves" and "wants" and can help you narrow your search for the ideal residence.
2. You aren't sure how much money you have available to purchase a home.
How much can you spend to acquire a residence? Without a budget, you may struggle to begin your real estate search.
Lucky for you, many banks and credit unions make it simple to get pre-approved for a mortgage.
Set up meetings with a few lenders in your city or town – you'll be glad you did. These lenders can help you assess your current financial situation, outline all of your mortgage options and ensure you can gain pre-approval for a mortgage.
With a mortgage in hand, you may be better equipped than other homebuyers to secure your ideal residence. This mortgage will help you determine exactly how much you can spend on a home. Plus, getting pre-approved for a mortgage can help you avoid the temptation to spend beyond your financial means to acquire your dream house.
3. You don't know what it takes to go from homebuyer to homeowner.
The homebuying process can be long and complicated, especially if you have no idea about what to expect from it. Fortunately, real estate agents are available to help you take the guesswork out of going from homebuyer to homeowner.
A real estate agent is a housing market professional who is happy to share his or her insights with you. He or she will respond to your homebuying concerns and queries and teach you about all stages of the homebuying cycle.
Furthermore, a real estate agent will set up home showings, keep you up to date about new houses as they become available and negotiate with property sellers on your behalf. This housing market professional will even go above and beyond the call of duty to guarantee you can purchase a home that you'll be able to enjoy for years to come.
When it comes to buying a home for the first time, there is no need to navigate the homebuying journey alone. Instead, collaborate with a real estate agent, and you can accelerate the process of acquiring a top-notch house at a budget-friendly price.
Buying your dream home may prove to be a long, arduous process. Thankfully, those who prepare for the homebuying journey can limit the risk of encountering hurdles along the way. And as a result, these homebuyers may be better equipped than others to enjoy a fast, seamless property buying experience.
Now, let's take a look at three things you need to know before you launch a home search.
1. The current housing market may favor buyers or sellers.
It generally is a good idea to evaluate the current housing market closely. That way, you can differentiate a buyer's market from a seller's market and map out your homebuying journey accordingly.
A buyer's market typically features a wide range of quality houses that may remain available for several weeks or months after they are listed. Comparatively, a seller's market usually is defined by a shortage of top-notch homes, and houses may be purchased just days after they become available.
Regardless of whether you are operating in a buyer's or seller's market, it helps to refine your home search. If you enter the housing market with homebuying criteria, you can narrow your search for your ideal residence. Then, once you find your dream house, you can act quickly to submit an offer to purchase it.
2. You may want to get pre-approved for a mortgage.
If you get pre-approved for a mortgage, you can begin your house search with a budget in hand. You next can hone your home search to residences that fall within your price range.
To get pre-approved for a mortgage, you should meet with a variety of banks and credit unions. These financial institutions can teach you everything you need to know about fixed- and adjustable-rate mortgages. They also can help you make an informed mortgage selection in no time at all.
3. Having a real estate agent at your side can make a world of difference.
Homebuyers who try to navigate the property buying journey alone may struggle to achieve their desired results. On the other hand, if you hire a real estate agent, you can receive expert assistance as you search for your dream house.
A real estate agent understands what it takes to streamline the homebuying cycle. Thus, if you want to acquire a first-rate house as quickly as possible, a real estate agent can help you do just that. Or, if you want to find a stellar residence that won't force you to break your budget, a real estate agent will make it simple to discover an affordable house that suits you perfectly.
Furthermore, a real estate agent can respond to your homebuying concerns and queries. And if you are ever uncertain about how to proceed along the homebuying journey, a real estate agent is ready to provide tips and recommendations.
Want to enjoy a successful homebuying experience? Start planning for the homebuying journey today, and you can boost the likelihood of achieving the best-possible results.
Ultimately, there is no surefire amount that you should spend on a house. The real estate market varies in cities and towns nationwide, and as such, the prices of houses fall across a broad range. Also, the condition and age of a house – as well as a homebuyer's budget – may dictate how much an individual is willing to spend on a particular residence.
As you search for your dream house, it helps to plan ahead as much as you can. Because if you have a homebuying strategy in place, you can determine exactly how much you can spend to acquire your ideal residence.
Now, let's take a look at three tips to help you get your finances in order before you kick off a house search.
1. Check Your Credit Score
Believe it or not, your credit score may have far-flung effects on your homebuying budget. And if you fail to review your credit score before you embark on a house search, you may miss out on an opportunity to purchase your dream house.
A low credit score may make it tough to get the mortgage you need to acquire your ideal residence. Thus, you may want to check your credit score and find ways to improve it before you begin a house search.
You won't have to break your budget to get a copy of your credit report from the three credit bureaus (Equifax, Experian and TransUnion). In fact, you are entitled to a free copy of your credit report annually from each of the aforementioned credit bureaus. Request a copy of your credit report, and you can learn your credit score.
Of course, if your credit score is low, you can always improve it by paying off outstanding debt. Or, if you find errors on your credit report, contact the credit bureau that provided the report so that you can get these issues corrected.
2. Get Pre-Approved for a Mortgage
Pre-approval for a mortgage makes it easy to enter the housing market with a budget at your disposal. If you meet with a variety of banks and credit unions, you can get pre-approved for a mortgage sooner rather than later.
Remember, banks and credit unions employ friendly, knowledgeable mortgage specialists. Don't hesitate to ask these specialists about assorted mortgage options, and you can select a mortgage that perfectly matches your finances.
3. Consult with a Real Estate Agent
A real estate agent can make it simple to pursue your dream house. This housing market professional will help you narrow the price range for your dream house and ensure you can discover the perfect house without delay. Perhaps most important, a real estate agent is happy to negotiate with a seller's agent on your behalf, ensuring you can get the best price on any home.
Ready to start a home search? Use the aforementioned tips, and you can simultaneously look for your dream house and avoid the risk of paying too much to purchase your dream residence.