So you've decided to buy your first home or sell your current home and purchase another. Obviously there is much to be done to make this decision a reality. Those serious about purchasing engage in these 6 steps before the house hunt even begins.
Step 1 - BE PROACTIVE - GET YOUR MORTGAGE PRE-APPROVED
Unless you are paying cash you need to first speak with a lender and learn your mortgage options. Important in this discussion is understanding if your finances are as ready to buy a home as you are. There is no point in wasting time house hunting if you can't get financing.
Step 2 - DEFINE YOUR NEEDS AND WANTS - BUT BE FLEXIBLE
The size of your family, lifestyle and income will dictate much of your needs and wants, however, the realities of your local market will further refine this list.
Step 3 - DO A REALITY CHECK - THERE IS NO PERFECT HOME
Once you know what you can afford and you've made your list of needs and wants start searching the web for homes that match your criteria. Many potential buyers quickly learn that what they want is either out of their price range or simply doesn't exist. Accept this reality and the home search will quickly become manageable.
Make adjustments to your list of needs and wants to match the realities of your budget and market. Keep in mind that the perfect home is the one you make, not the one you buy.
Step 4 - LEARN THE BUYING AND SELLING PROCESS
Even if you're not a first-time buyer much about the process may have changed since you bought your home. Take the time to learn the process and the expectations of the buyer and seller. Get an idea of closing costs and other upfront costs like earnest money and home inspection fees. Your Realtor is an excellent resource to walk you through the steps and setting reasonable expectations.
Step 5 - HIRE PROS
Don't assume you know everything or even enough to go it alone. Many Realtors have a story about the buyer or seller that tried only to call them to clean up the mess and put them back on track. Simple oversights could cost you time and thousands of dollars. A worst case scenario could land you in court. If buying and selling real estate is not your specialty then hire a professional.
Step 6 - COMMIT TO THE JOURNEY
Buying a home requires a commitment to the journey. Purchasing a home takes time. Time to search, time to negotiate the sale, time for the lender to approve the loan, time to pack and move. Serious buyers already have these expectations and are ready for the journey. They will use their time wisely and efficiently to act quickly and decisively to purchase their new home.
Ask yourself... Am I a serious buyer? Start with step 1 and you too can become a serious homebuyer.