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Taking Stress Out of Home Buying

Written by on Tuesday, 14 January 2014 4:56 am

Buying a home should be one of the most fun times of your life, not stressful. As you look for your first home, next home, or dream home, keep in mind these tips for making the process as peaceful as possible. Enjoy this Home Buyer Presentation done as a Digital Magazine!

  1. Find a real estate agent who you connect with. Home buying is not only a big financial commitment, but also an emotional one. It’s critical that the Buyer’s Agent you chose is both highly skilled and a good fit with your personality. One thing to look for is responsiveness.  Looking at sites with agent reviews like Zillow is a good way to see what others  have found from their experience regarding agent responsiveness, local knowledge, process expertise, and more!
  1. Remember, there’s no “right” or perfect time to buy. When you find that perfect home, don’t try to second-guess interest rates or the housing market by waiting longer — especially if your purchase timeline is for 3-5 years or longer or you risk losing out on the home of your dreams.  In a low inventoried market like we are in right now with less than 4 months of housing supply in much of our market, this can cause others to jump in and make offers and you might miss out!  Zillow is predicting housing prices up 4% nationally this year so the 2014 housing market probably won’t change fast enough to make that much difference in price except for up, and a good home won’t stay on the market long.  Last fall mortgage rates showed us just how quickly they can go up! Rising 150 basis points or so from the lows of last summer, we now see rates in the 4.5%-4.625% range and probably moving higher over the next six months.  As the economy perceptively improves so will mortgage rates move higher!
  1. Know that no house is ever perfect. I have built homes before that I still saw things I would change or do differently next time. If it’s in the right location, the yard may be a bit smaller than you had hoped. The kitchen may be perfect, but the roof needs repair. Make a list of your top priorities and focus in on things that are most important to you. Ask the seller to address them upon inspection and prior to closing or if unimportant, let the minor ones go.
  1. Don’t try to be a killer negotiator. Negotiation is definitely a part of the real estate process, but trying to “win” by getting an extra-low price in a market like this one where inventory is so low we are back in a “Seller’s Market” or by refusing to budge on your offer may cost you the home you love.  Negotiation is give and take and meeting in the middle! This is a distinctly different market than it was 2-3 years ago when there was 15-18 months’ supply of housing sitting on the market and aging rapidly with high days on market.  Seeing in certain areas of our market homes going under contract in “days” once again!
  1. Plan ahead and “first things first!” Buyers contact me every day wanting to know when we can go see a specific property!  I always try and educate Buyers I work with that the first thing that needs to be done, is to get pre-qualified for a mortgage.  Takes minutes and hours not days anymore!  Most of the time it can be done online without ever having to go to a mortgage company or bank!  Don’t even need financial docs most times to get pre-qualified!  The lending process is drastically different than it was 6-8 years ago. If it has been that long (or longer) since you last purchased a home, don’t assume because it was no problem before to get financing that today is going to be the same.  Also, and this is important for first time home buyers, getting a mortgage is more than having a good credit score and a job! It is about a combination credit score, “documented income,” access to down payment funds, and falling into a precise range of “debt to income” ratios that determine how much house you can afford!  Waiting until you’ve found a home and made an offer to get approved for a mortgage, investigate home insurance, and consider a schedule for the home inspection is too late! Too, it makes your offer weaker, and in the presence of this being a “Seller’s Market” once again with multiple offers, low inventory, and homes not staying on the market long it might cause you to miss that purchase you are looking to make on that next, first, or dream home because you weren’t ready to fully make the strongest offer you could. Presenting an offer contingent on a lot of unresolved issues will make your offer much less attractive to sellers.
  • Factor in maintenance and repair costs in your post-home buying budget. Even if you buy a new home, there will be costs. Don’t leave yourself short and let your home deteriorate.
  • Look at differences in MI or Mortgage Insurance. Most are still going FHA. FHA mortgage MI has gotten much more expensive over the past six months. Look at differences between FHA and a Conventional mortgage as to whether you can qualify and the cost of doing both!
  • Accept that a little buyer’s remorse is inevitable and will probably pass. Buying a home, especially for the first time, is a big financial commitment. But it also yields big benefits. Don’t lose sight of why you wanted to buy a home and what made you fall in love with the property you purchased.
  • Choose a home first because you love it; then think about appreciation. While U.S. homes are expected to appreciate at an average of 1-2 percent annually above inflation between now and 2020 from one report I recently read, a home’s most important role is to serve as a comfortable, safe place to live.

For more information about the home buying process  please contact me! I would love to be of assistance! 


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  • Comment Link Hank Bailey Wednesday, 15 January 2014 3:09 pm posted by Hank Bailey

    Thanks for your comment Will. I think this is primarily why it is a must to be ready and able to make offers when you as a buyer find something you like. Especially in an environment like we find ourselves in where inventory is less than 5 months of supply I always encourage buyers to be ready to jump on a property if it meets their criteria.

    More than that a responsive agent is a must. There is no excuse in my opinion for "not getting my clients quick answers." For me as an agent, responsiveness and follow up, follow up, follow up is a key part of success when houses are few and buyers are clamoring for that one right purchase!

    It is hard when you are out of state and that puts an additional element into home buying that can add some stress, but if your agent is on the ball and a task oriented individual who doesn't ever say "die" then he/she will help you get that right property sorted out. I tell people all the time that I am a "recovering Type A personality!" Must get my task list handled and if there is one house that I need to follow up on at 10 o'clock at night I that I didn't hear back from an agent on, for example, I don't sleep well.

    Thanks again for your comments.

  • Comment Link Will B... Wednesday, 15 January 2014 3:00 pm posted by Will B...

    For those of us who aspire to relocate to another state, home buying at long distance is very difficult. In the time it takes to fully investigate a home on line, and talk with the agent, the home suddenly has a pending offer. So it is do it over and over. Any quick answers from anyone. If you have not done this before, you cannot imagine the shortcomings involved.

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