Stockman Farrar Group's Blog
In the rush and excitement to find the perfect home and make it yours, there are some things best learned beforehand rather than through hindsight. Here are some suggestions from first-time homebuyers that would have made the entire process less challenging.
Know where you stand.
If you plan to buy a home, even if it’s a couple years out, you need to assess your current creditworthiness so that you can move the needle to improve your credit score. Making sure that your credit reports show the correct information is not something to leave to chance.
- Order your credit reports from each of the three major reporting agencies (TransUnion, Equifax, and Experian).
- Review all the entries carefully. Sometimes, credit card accounts have different names on the credit report than on your card, so review your statements to match up accounts with their identifiers.
- If you find mistakes, request a review with the credit agency. All three have error mitigation instructions on their websites. Follow the instructions carefully.
- Review any slow pays and rearrange your payment schedules so that you’re up-to-date and on-time for everything.
Create your budget.
While this doesn’t work for everyone, a good rule of thumb is to keep your home price within two and a half times your annual income. That means if you make $80,000 per year, set your budget at $200,000 or less. If your income calculation includes dual partners or spouses, but you intend to add children to the household, consider how you might eliminate that second income. If you calculate your purchase based on one income your budget is more secure.
Determine your down payment.
First-time homebuyers typically qualify for FHA loans with just a 3.5% down payment. Others may be eligible for VA, USDA or Conventional 97 LTV programs too. But with less paid down, your mortgage payments increase because the loan is higher and includes the added cost of Private Mortgage Insurance (PMI). If you can put more down to get a better rate and reduce your mortgage payment, consider it. Conventional loans usually ask for a 20% down payment, but you’ll often get better interest rates and lower payments.
Decide on a loan term.
A fix-rate mortgage for 30 years is the norm, but not the only option. You can find loan terms for 8 or 15 years too. If an adjustable rate works for you in the short term, you’ll find those as well, but if you choose an adjustable-rate only because you couldn’t otherwise afford the home, you might want to wait or adjust your budget.
Get pre-approval from your lender.
Your bank looks at all your income, assets, credit history and other aspects. Getting the lender to give you an informal approval helps you determine if you’ll be able to borrow a specified amount of money to buy a home. Use the numbers your lender gives you to refine your budget.
When you’re ready, find a buyer’s agent to represent you in your home search and let the games begin.
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A home showing may prove to be exceedingly valuable, regardless of whether you're actively searching for a residence or preparing to enter the real estate market. In fact, there are many reasons to schedule a home showing, and these include:
1. You think a home may be right for you.
If you review a home listing and feel a house may be your dream residence, it never hurts to set up a home showing. By visiting a residence, you can get an up-close look at a house and determine whether this home is right for you.
Ultimately, the only thing that a home showing will cost you is time. If you find that a home matches or exceeds your expectations, you can always submit an offer on this residence after a showing. Conversely, if a home falls short of your expectations during a showing, you can continue your search for your ideal house.
2. You are interested in learning about the local housing market.
Let's face it – the housing market can be tricky to navigate, particularly for those who intend to purchase a home for the first time. Luckily, a home showing offers a commitment-free opportunity to examine a residence and learn about the local real estate market.
Typically, a home showing allows you to review a house in-person and ask questions about this residence. Once the showing is complete, there is no obligation to move forward with a home purchase. Instead, you can assess your homebuying options and proceed accordingly.
3. You want to narrow your home search.
Although you know that you want to buy a house, you still have lots of ideas about what you want from your ideal residence. Thankfully, a home showing gives you an opportunity to walk through a house and determine what you like and don't like. And even if you decide not to proceed with a home offer, you can use the insights from a home showing to hone your house search.
If you need help setting up a home showing, you may want to reach out to a local real estate agent sooner rather than later. Because if you have a real estate agent at your side, you can check out a wide range of residences and boost the likelihood of discovering your dream home.
A real estate agent can help you get ready for a home showing and offer plenty of insights into the housing market. This professional also will walk through a house with you during a showing and is prepared to respond to any concerns or queries. Perhaps best of all, if you want to submit an offer on a house after a showing, a real estate agent will make it simple to put together a competitive homebuying proposal.
Make your homeownership dream come true – attend a house showing, and you can increase your chances of finding a terrific residence that you can enjoy for years to come.
Buying a house involves dozens of interrelated decisions, many of which could affect the quality of your life for years to come. No pressure, though!
Working with an experienced real estate agent with whom you feel comfortable is one strategy for successfully navigating many of those pivotal decisions. The ideal buyers' agent will be familiar with neighborhoods in your target area, and is trained to help you match your requirements with properties in your price range. They can assist you in developing a priority list of things you want and need in your next home.
In addition to noticing the features of each individual house you're considering, there's also the bigger picture of the character of the neighborhood in which homes are located. Here are a few things you may want to keep in mind as you visit different homes for sale.
- Street traffic: There are several distinct disadvantages to living close to a busy street or highway. First of all, there's the noise factor, which is often a deal breaker for people who thrive on peace and quiet! If you have young children, a busy street can also be a potential safety hazard. When you have cars constantly driving by your house, privacy is another issue to consider.
- Proximity of houses: Speaking of privacy and quiet, there's also the question of how physically close houses are situated next to each other. If they're only ten or twenty feet away, then you might end up knowing more about your neighbors than you really want to! (The reverse of that is also true.) In those instances, privacy hedges and tall fences can provide some benefits.
- Appearance of the neighborhood: If nearby houses are in run-down condition or poorly maintained, that's generally a "red flag," in regard to the quality of the neighborhood. The same can usually be said about prospective neighbors who keep junk vehicles or construction debris on their property for any length of time. If you're considering a neighborhood with one or more abandoned houses on the street, proceed with caution. However, what you see, is not always what you get! Appearances can be misleading, and there may be plans underway, for example, to demolish a fire-damaged house and replace it with a new and improved home. Very often your real estate agent can find out more about the circumstances surrounding an abandoned or boarded-up house. They may also be able to help you research crime statistics for a particular neighborhood or street.
- Convenience factors: All things being equal, it's nice to live within walking distance or a short drive from grocery stores, drug stores, banks, public parks, the post office, child care services, schools, doctors, dentists, hospitals, veterinarians, restaurants, and other amenities.
For those who want to achieve the best-possible results during the house selling journey, it helps to plan ahead. Fortunately, we're here to help you get ready to list your home and enjoy a seamless property selling experience.
Now, let's take a look at three items that every seller needs to pick up before listing a house.
1. Cleaning Supplies
A stunning home interior can make a world of difference in the eyes of property buyers. Thus, you should purchase cleaning supplies to ensure that you can transform your house's interior from drab to fab.
Cleaning supplies are easy to find at any grocery or convenience store and won't force you to break your budget. Plus, they often come with instructions so you can use these supplies for maximum effectiveness.
2. Lawn Care Equipment
In addition to improving the look of your home's interior, you'll want to do everything possible to bolster your residence's curb appeal. Because if potential buyers drive past your home and like what they see, these individuals may be more inclined than ever before to schedule a property showing.
A lawn mower, hedge trimmer and other lawn care equipment are paramount for a home seller. With this equipment at his or her disposal, a seller can improve a house's curb appeal. And as a result, this individual can help make his or her home an attractive option for prospective buyers.
3. Hand Tool Set
A hand tool set will serve a home seller well even after this individual sells his or her house. This set includes a hammer, wrenches, screwdrivers and other essential tools that will make it easy for an individual to perform quick fixes around a house.
In most instances, a standard hand tool set includes everything that a home seller will need to complete basic house repairs. And remember, an individual can always add to his or her hand tool set down the line too.
As you prepare to list your home, there are lots of things that you can do to differentiate your residence from the competition. In fact, if you collaborate with a real estate agent, you can receive comprehensive home selling insights that you may struggle to obtain elsewhere.
A real estate agent is happy to offer honest, unbiased property selling recommendations. He or she can help you get your residence ready for the housing market and ensure it generates plenty of interest from potential buyers. Also, a real estate agent will show your residence to prospective buyers, keep you up to date about any offers to purchase your house and much more.
Perhaps best of all, if you have concerns or questions during the home selling journey, a real estate agent is ready to respond to them. This enables you to gain expert home selling insights and receive the support you need to succeed.
Employ a real estate agent today, and you can begin a successful home selling journey.