For most families, buying a dream home in the ideal neighborhood is often just that, a dream. However, it can very well become a reality if you have the right approach. It’s not going to be easy because buying a home in a seller’s market means getting ahead of other families also looking to buy. In fact, it’s not unusual for homes to be sold within hours after being put on the market. While there are no guarantees, the following steps will tip the odds in your favor if you are house hunting.
Get Your Finances in Order
You need to get your finances organized well before you even begin to look for a home. There’s no such thing as doing this too early because correcting a low credit score entails far more work than making a phone call. If you want to browse homes for sale in the meantime, then go right ahead, but don’t even think about contacting the sellers. The first step is all about saving enough for a down payment and closing cost as well as shopping for a mortgage.
Speaking of mortgages, here’s a useful tip: don’t just get pre-qualified for a loan, get pre-approved. The former is just the initial step and can be done over the phone, while the latter is the next step that requires submitting an application and undergoing a financial background check. Most sellers will only give you the time of day if you have already been pre-approved for a mortgage; this ensures that the transaction won’t fall apart midway due to financial setbacks on the buyer’s end.
Find a Good Agent
Like looking for a dentist or a lawyer, finding an agent isn’t something you want to do with a quick skim of the Yellow pages or a quick browse online. References from family and friends are a good idea. It’s important that you have a good agent that you can form a good rapport with because an agent’s job extends far beyond finding you a home that matches your criteria. Your agent will be the middleman that helps you navigate the intricate process of buying a home, which often includes appraisals and lengthy inspections.
Begin Your Search
This is the fun part that gets home buyers excited about the prospects. Online real estate portals like Zillow, AOL Real Estate and Trulia are good starting places where you can look up homes for sale in the neighborhoods you specify.
Things to consider when selecting a neighborhood:
- How far is the neighborhood from your workplace?
- How are the schools ranked compared to others in the county?
- How safe is the neighborhood? Is this a town where I can take a casual stroll without constantly looking over my shoulder?
When using an online portal, sign up for automatic alerts. This way, you will be notified the minute a house within your desired neighborhood is put up for sale. This is an important step because there are typically more buyers than there are homes for sale. If you don’t act immediately, it could be gone before you even realize it was on the market.
Get Friendly with the Seller
It’s not unusual for the seller to be presented with multiple bids from multiple buyers. Those other buyers are your competition. Standing out from the others is not just about having the highest bid. Sellers may also be attracted to buyers whose offers contain as few contingencies as possible. This may include your agreement to an expedited home inspection or something along those lines. Even if the seller is already in negotiations with another buyer, continue to offer your bid. It’s like putting yourself on a waiting list so that you’ll be next in line should the deal fall through.
It also doesn’t hurt to get to know the sellers on a personal level. After the initial contact, befriend them on social media or even write them a personal letter. By writing to them, this doesn’t mean shooting them an email; this means writing to them the old fashioned way with pencil and paper. You can even include a basket of cookies. While this method may come off as somewhat cliché and even desperate, most buyers who tried it attested that it works.
Acquiring the dream home where you hope to raise your family doesn’t have to be out of reach. While some prospects may slip through, if you implement the methods described, sooner or later, you will find a house that you will be proud to call home.
Shop Hard for Mortgage Loan
Shopping for mortgage is perhaps the most important task You need to do while buying home. As you’ll have to pay every month out of your pocket. Here is one good post on smart mortgage loan shopping. Compare loans at various places and decide the cheapest and best one.
Happy home buying readers!
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