Most buyers conduct a lot of research online before ever stepping foot in a home. Buyers spend an average of 6 to 8 weeks, according to the National Association of REALTORS, trying to figure out where they want to live. But once the neighborhood is selected, most buyers end up buying a home after 2 or 3 home tours.
Figure out what you can afford before you look. Get pre-approved for a home loan before your home search so that you don’t waste time on those that you can’t afford. Scour your credit history and resolve any black marks before applying for a home loan.
Homes typically should cost about two and a half times your salary as a rule of thumb, although you also must consider your monthly expenses and what you want to save. Because you will be responsible for unforeseen repairs and property taxes, a healthy amount of savings can come in handy.
Beware of mortgage brokers who are a little too fast and loose with approving you. If you qualify, you may be able to make a down payment as low as 3 percent interest. Paying down “points” is good for those living in a home for three to five years, as it takes a dent out of the interest rate as you pay a portion of the interest at closing.
Some building societies now provide buyers with a certificate that states that a loan will be available provided the property is satisfactory. You may be able to get this certificate before you start looking for a property. Building societies state that this certificate may help you to have your offer accepted by the seller.
Get a good real estate agent when house buying, preferably one that is exclusive. Real estate agents can assist in your search and help with the bidding process. Have your home inspected and listen to your inspector. If there are issues with a home you are in love with, see if you can negotiate with the seller on responsibility of repairs. However, if there are serious problems, consider forfeiting the dream home so you don’t end up in a money pit.
Think about location and benefits outside of the actual house. Being near work could save a lot of gas money. Living in the city can give you access to the action, and suburbia or the country can shield you from it. Living in good school districts – whether or not you have children – will help your home retain its value.
Timing matters. Know that the market can move at a breakneck speed, and a quote a few months ago probably isn’t going to relevant now. Along the same lines, don’t go by your previous home purchases when seeking out current ones. When researching the market, look for homes similar to what you seek and in your target location.