Getting Ready to Buy a Home

Getting Ready to Buy a Home
Two Minute Real Estate
Are you getting ready to buy a home?  If you haven’t bought or sold a home in the last year or two, you especially will want to stay up-to-date on changes to the process and the market.  So read on and let me know if you notice any changes.
Step 1.  Get Educated.
As you probably know, most people today start looking for homes on the internet, typically a mobile device.  These future buyers want get an idea of home prices and what is for sale.  In fact, many future buyers are looking for information about the home buying process on the internet—just like you are.
So researching information and browsing the internet is a great way to take that first step to get ready to buy a home.
But there is so much information out there, it can be hard to sort through it all.  As you look at information online, you will have some questions:
Could I buy this one?  How much home can I afford?
Do I need down payment money?  How much?
Why do some homes cost so much more or less than others?
What are the best buys? What about foreclosures?
How can I find out about the different neighborhoods?
What do I really want?
Some buyers may browse for months before contacting a real estate agent.  They may not be quite ready to move forward.  They may just prefer to study on their own for a while first.
Or they may not know that an agent can help them greatly even early in the process.
Step 2.  Choose a Real Estate Agent.
Some buyers contact a real estate agent right away as soon as they begin to think about buying a home.  Others wait until after some time studying the market.  Either way, choosing a real estate agent should be an early step in your home buying process.  (We will talk about how to choose a real estate agent in a future episode)
Your agent can help find answers to your questions and help guide you through the home search process.  Your agent can be a big help in assisting you to prioritize what is most important to you in a home.  They can help you decide on your price range, style of home, and location.
A real estate agent can help sort through the most current listings that meet your criteria.  As you get into looking, you will see that it can be really helpful to have someone help you sort things out.   Also, this includes making sure you are notified as soon as a property comes on the market.
Your agent will continue the education process about the steps to buying a home.  This will be important, because along the way you will appreciate being reminded of how things work and knowing what to expect.
And your agent can provide you with information on lenders or how to go about a cash purchase.
As you can see, a real estate agent working with you as a buyer’s agent can be valuable even early in the process.
(We will also explain more in future episodes and dig deeper into all the steps to buy a home, so stay tuned.)
Step 3.  Choose a Lender
You should choose a lender very early in the process too.
It is important to know early on:

  1. if you will qualify to buy a home,
  2. how much buying power you have, and
  3. if you need to do some work on your credit.

Unless you are a cash buyer, you will need to find out what financing products are available to you.   Your credit status will be very important and has a huge impact on your home buying.
Your credit status is an important factor in determining:

  1. how much money you can borrow,
  2. how much down payment you must have,
  3. your interest rate and
  4. f you have to pay mortgage insurance.

All of this will impact your bottom line and what home you can actually afford.
Not all lenders offer the same products, so it’s smart to consider different lenders.  You want to find the right loan product and choose the lender that best meets your needs.  Some lenders may not have the perfect product for you.  If one does not, there may be others that can still help you.  If your credit needs improvement many lenders will make specific suggestions on how to improve your credit worthiness.Your real estate agent can help you identify potential lenders, but you choose your lender.  (More details on financing and choosing a lender another day.)
As I’ve mentioned before:
Please keep in mind many of the principles in the videos and on this website may apply to you wherever you are.  But… please be cautious because this info is based on Alabama Real Estate and particularly the Montgomery Area and our Association of REALTORS®.  Your state and local real estate laws, rules, and customs are likely to be different.  So be sure to check with a local agent if you are outside the Montgomery Alabama area. 
If you need help in finding a real estate agent closer to you, let me know.  I am connected to a nationwide network of awesome agents and would be happy to help you.
So stay tuned for the next episode:  Choosing a Real Estate Agent
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