After casually looking at real estate listings for forever… you are ready to buy a home. Congratulations!
Moving out of the curiosity phase is a big deal and it can be a little scary. Here are the 5 most important things you need to do to make sure you buy a home that will serve you well for years to come.
Get Pre-Approved for a loan
You need to do this even if you are dead sure that you qualify for the loan amount you want. No home seller will take your offer seriously without one and there is nothing worse than losing out on a home you love because you weren’t prepared.
Not all pre-approvals are equal. It is best to get one from a mortgage professional that is widely respected in the area you want to live. This is typically NOT a big bank like B of A or Wells Fargo. You have a better chance of getting a home in a competitive situation if the lender is respected and trusted by the listing agent.
Your agent can direct you to several mortgage professionals that can help you win.
Gather your financial documents
There are several documents necessary to obtain a loan. It helps to have those documents ready for your lender the moment your offer is accepted, or even before.
Click here for a list of the typical documents the mortgage lender will need from you.
Get clear on your priorities
The home you want is more than just a set number of bedrooms and bathrooms. The home you buy needs to do something for you – it must be a good investment or in the right school district. It needs to be safe or provide peace and tranquility. Perhaps you need a great place to entertain or the yard must be large enough for exercise or recreation.
Everyone is different, but if you know WHY you want to buy a home it is easier to see WHAT home to buy.
Gather your advisors
Most people have two types of advisors, professional and emotional. Professional advisors are your tax professional or accountant, financial advisor and, potentially, an attorney. These are people you may need to consult to identify the right price range for your home purchase.
Emotional advisors are your tribe- the people who help you make difficult decisions. This is can be family, friends or even mentors.
Identify your real estate professional
It is a bad idea to default to the convenient real estate person. This might be the person hosting the open house or the person who answers the phone when you inquire about a home for sale. It might be your parent’s Realtor or the person who helped your friend. All of these people might be the best Realtor in the world, but you deserve to find out if they are the best Realtor for you.