Looking to buy a home? Fantastic! Congrats! Hooray! Let’s set you up for a success. In today’s highly competitive, fast-moving market, you’ll need to get your ducks in a row to make an appealing offer. Before you begin seriously window shopping, here are a few things you’ll need to accomplish:
Find an Agent
Purchasing a home is a wild ride. It’s thrilling, wonderful, and sometimes incredibly stressful. Especially in a market as competitive as the one currently find ourselves in. To guide you along this process, you’ll want an agent—a trusted companion who will be by your side every step of the way. Real estate transactions are a complex web of documents, inspections, permits, negotiations, scheduling, legalities, and countless other unforeseen snags. Your agent has first-hand experience dealing with all of these obstacles, and when something new arrises, they have a bevy of colleagues to turn to, so that they can offer you the best advice. And as a buyer, having an agent costs you nothing—their commission is paid by the seller.
Bottom line—when things are moving as quickly as they are right now, you want to a trusted agent, ensuring you make timely and cost-saving decisions.
SET YOUR BUDGET
How much can you spend, and how much do you want to spend? While you may get approved for a $750,000 mortgage, that doesn’t mean you should. You don’t want to over extend yourself and cause unnecessary stress. Really take a moment to consider your overall monthly and annual budget. Purchasing a home is a big investment, one that you should feel good about. Set a comfortable max budget and relentlessly stick with it. Dont’ be distracted by shiny appliances and fancy upgrades.
In today’s fast-moving market, you’ll need to include a preapproval letter with your offer. This shows the buyer that you are financially able to afford their house, and that should be able to secure a loan for the sale amount without issue. This letter will come from your lender, who will request access to your financial information, and work with you throughout the buying process to secure financing. If you don’t already have a trusted lender, ask your Nest agent for a recommendation. They work with various local lenders and will be able to find you the best match.
SET YOUR WISH LIST
When thinking about your ultimate dream home, what comes to mind? Is it sipping lemonade on the front porch, or is it watching football in a rec room? What are the things that really matter in your ideal day-to-day routine? And are those important enough to factor into your home buying decision?
Take time to really hone in on what you absolutely must have versus what you’d like. Sit down by yourself, or alongside anyone who is making the buying decision with you, grab a pen and paper and write down your needs vs. wants.
Break them into three categories: must haves, would be nice, and deal breakers. Here are some examples to get you started…
- MUST HAVES
- 3 bedrooms
- 2 full bathrooms
- WOULD BE NICE
- open concept floor plan
- large front porch or back deck
- DEAL BREAKERS
- high-traffic street
- sloped lot
- well or septic
Your agent will be able to talk through your lists to suggest potential homes worth touring, saving you time and energy. They’ll also be able to dig deeper into some of your deal breakers—what is your fear surrounding a well or septic? Can they offer more information that may ultimately remove this from your deal breaker list? In this “seller’s market” is there any flexibility on one of your must have items? A great agent will assist you in setting realistic expectations.
NARROW YOUR NEIGHBORHOODS
This one is pretty straight forward. With work from home becoming more common place, does that change your preferred neighborhoods? If you aren’t driving a daily commute, are you able to live in a neighborhood you previously ruled out? Location impact price, so talk to your agent to find out if there is an area where you may get more bang for your buck.
By conquering these initial steps of the buyer’s journey, you’ll be ready to jump into the housing market with both feet, rely on the guidance of your agent, act decisively, and make an appealing offer!