Looking for a home? How to start your search
Updated: Sep 4, 2019
Budget. Needs.Wants.... and Patience.
You want to buy a house? Your hard work has paid off and you have been able to save some money! This, by itself, is difficult enough. Maybe you have an inheritance? Perhaps you and your partner saved and saved. Regardless, now you feel it is time to venture out.
How do you actually venture out?
Most of the process revolves around what money you have saved, what money you have access to, and how much a lender is willing to give you. The reason for why I say "most" of the process is simple; Your fit into your next home will be ultimately controlled by what you can afford. This also ties into your riskiness to the lender. You might make $300k a year, but if you have issues paying your car payments and current home you may not have a good time during the pre-approval process (Which is much more in depth compared to the pre-qualification process)
Before you consider a purchase know your current spending habits and necessary expenditures. If you are buying a home with someone else, you both need to be completely transparent with each other.
First Step | Get to know your finances.
Go to the people who issue the mortgage and get a pre-qualification. This could be a local Bank, Mortgage Broker, or Credit Union.
A pre-qual will give you an idea of a ball park of a home you can possibly afford... Did you pick up on what I did there? "Idea" "Ball Park" " Possibly" - Words of mystery, right?
Pre-qualification can often be done over the phone or online. It’s quick, usually taking just one to three days to get a pre-qualification letter. Keep in mind that loan pre-qualification may not include an analysis of your credit report. It’s based almost entirely on the information you furnish the lender. Remember I just mentioned transparency with your partner, and the "words of mystery"? If you are embarrassed by something related to your finances, and do not answer with accuracy, you are simply wasting your time, and those involved.
Great - Lets fast forward a week. Now you have a decent idea of what you can afford.
Needs | We all have them
What do you need? Do you have children in school? Will you need the best schools?
Do you need a 2 bedroom, 3?, 4?
Do you or your spouse having difficulty climbing stairs?
Do you need a garage, a pool, or a basement?
Wants and needs can intertwine.
Wants | We all want something
Did you grow up on the forth floor of an apartment building and simply want a single story ranch?
Do you gravitate to the ocean? Do you want to walk to the beach?
Do you want a nice sold surface counter top with a big kitchen sink?
Do you love or hate yard work?
Wants can be simple or elaborate. What I want in a home is very different than what you want. Don't hold back from, at the very least, expressing what you want with your agent.
Time | Patience
Wanting something and getting it, is satisfying. Wanting something out of budget, but later being able to add it to your home can be rewarding. Satisfaction is often short lived. Feeling rewarded can last.
Let me explain: You may want a four bedroom ranch with a walk in pantry and fully finished basement. You might find a 3 bedroom with a walk in, unfinished attic. The attic can be turned into the fourth bedroom; An unfinished basement can be finished; Kitchens can be renovated. Look below the surface and look for the potential. Remember, the only thing you can't change is the location.
How do you know what you actually need vs. want? One simple strategy is to write it down, or use this form.
My job as an agent is to find the house that you need, want, and can afford. It can be tricky, but we can get it done! Let's get together and find the place for you.
TL;DR - Know what you can spend, know what you want and need, call me.