There’s a lot that goes into a buying a home. You have to find properties, tour them and put down offers, find a lender and get approved for a loan, and (finally) pack up all your belongings and move them across the city, state, or country. It’s an overwhelming task list, to say the least!
Fortunately, we at Keller Williams have been around the block a few times...and while we can’t put that dream home instantly in your hands, we do have some tricks up our sleeves that can make your home buying journey far easier and more efficient.
Are you preparing to buy a new home? Here are some tips we’ve picked up over the years that can help:
1. Have the right people on your side. This one’s vital. As independent as you might be, you can’t buy a house on your own. You need the help of so many professionals along the way – people like real estate agents, home inspectors, loan officers and more. If you really want to have the easiest, most successful home buying experience possible, take care in choosing the best professionals for the job.
First, find a great agent. Research real estate firms and agents in the area, and find someone with a solid record, lots of local experience, and good reviews and testimonials from past clients. Once you find a possible fit, schedule an in-person meeting with them to make sure they fit the bill. If they don’t, go back to the drawing board until you find someone who does!
Next, find a great lender and loan officer. Your lender is going to be with you for a while, so you want to choose someone who’s highly rated, trustworthy, and in it for the long haul. Look for lenders with a long history in your area, and check out testimonials of individual loan officers at each. No two loan officers are alike, so take your time and find one who will really be your advocate throughout the whole process!
2. Get prequalified. Once you pick out a lender, it’s time to get prequalified for a mortgage loan. For one, this prequalification can be a great way to get ahead of other buyers. Just think: If a seller gets a bid from you (a prequalified buyer) and one other person (not prequalified), who do you think they’ll go with? The person already backed for financing, or the person who’s more of a gamble? You can bet the prequalification will play a role in their decision.
Prequalification can also give you a number to base your home search on. Your lender will tell you how much you’re prequalified for. With that number in mind, you and your agent can then start finding properties that fit your budget and your family’s preferences.
3. Be responsive. Homes go on and off the market fast. If you want to find your dream home – and find it at a price you can afford – you have to be on top of things. That means responding to your agent’s calls, texts, or emails when they find a potential property and staying near lines of communication when you’ve put a bid in on a house. Counter-offers and negotiations move quickly, so if you want to keep in the game and ensure you’re not outbid, you need to respond as fast as possible. Sellers won’t wait around for you to answer your calls. They want their homes off the market fast!
4. Do your research. If you really want to streamline the home buying process, do plenty of research before diving in – research on what type of home you like, the neighborhoods, your finances, the local marketplace, school districts, and anything else you can think of. When you come to an agent, you should have a clear-cut picture of exactly what type of property you want, where you want it, and what price you can afford. Make your homebuying process as efficient as possible by doing your research first. Then, once you hire an agent and begin your search, you can focus on the true potential properties – the ones that have a real chance of being a winner.
5. Have your finances in order. This is a big one. If you’re a first-time homebuyer, you might not be aware of this, but buying a home requires lots and lots and lots of paperwork. Your mortgage lender is going to need copies of bank statements, tax returns, and pay stubs. They’ll also want verification of your employment, and they’ll need access to all kinds of other financial documentation. It can be hard – not to mention tedious – to gather it all up and so does in a timely manner. Unfortunately, this can cause quite the hold-up in the buying process, delaying your loan approval, closing and move-in date for weeks or even months.
To prevent this from becoming an issue with your home purchase, take time to get your financial documentation in order long before you start your home search. Gather up your last few years of tax returns, print out monthly statements from your bank and savings accounts, and make sure your employer is willing to vouch for your employment should your lender request it. Organize it all in a folder and have it ready to go at a moment’s request. You’ll be amazed at how much faster the purchasing process will go because of it!
6. Focus on your credit. Your credit score will factor into both the type and amount of mortgage loan you can qualify for, so if you really want smooth sailing when buying your home, take some time to focus on building your credit up before jumping into the market. Work on paying down your debts, make all your monthly payments on time, and avoid using credit cards or other forms of revolving credit. The higher you can get that credit score by the time you find a lender, the better off you’ll be for it.
Do you want an easy and smooth homebuying experience? Then let us help. Contact our associates at Keller Williams New Braunfels today, and we’ll help prepare you for the road ahead. We can even recommend lenders, home inspectors and other industry professionals who can help you on your journey. Let's get started!