How to Mitigate Stress and Land a Home to Call Your Own
Have you decided it’s time to buy a home? Congratulations! Start here to learn about the overall process, aspects to be aware of, and tips to keep in mind as you set out on your journey to become a homeowner.
Sort Out Lending First
If you’re new to the homebuying process, especially in today’s crazy market, make it a priority to talk with a lender very early on. I don’t recommend touring any homes until you’ve talked with a few lenders and acquired a pre-approval letter.
This can go a variety of ways, from finding out you need to take another year to save for a down payment or increase a credit score, to realizing that today’s low interest rates will allow you to search for more expensive homes than you’d originally thought. The information that comes out of a meeting with a good lender is absolutely crucial to beginning the homebuying process on solid ground.
Get Specific About Budget
Talking with a great lender will also help you get clear about your true budget. They’re there not only to lend you the money to buy a home, but also to talk through the relevant aspects of your financial reality in order to help you figure out how much house you can comfortably afford. Sometimes, people are approved for mortgage amounts that they couldn’t actually comfortably afford each month.
Break down your monthly budget and take into account the estimated interest rates from your conversation with a lender. Take advantage of online calculators and other tools that can help you get clear about exactly how much you can expect to pay for a particular home each month. Don’t forget to factor in property tax, HOA dues and mortgage insurance, if applicable! Once you’re clear on your true budget, you’re ready to start searching for homes.
Create a Venn Diagram
To kick off your home search, imagine a venn diagram. Each circle in the venn diagram can represent a different aspect of your ideal home: a circle for budget, one for school district, one for number of bedrooms and bathrooms, one for home features like a garage, and so on. The overlapping space of all of these circles on your venn diagram will represent the selection of homes that are most likely to meet your needs. These are the homes we’ll go out to take a look at!
Plan Plenty of Time for Showings
While the Colorado real estate market continues to ebb and flow just as any housing market does, we still find ourselves in a market that favors sellers. Many buyers need to make offers on a few homes before eventually seeing an offer win and going under contract.
Commonly, hopeful buyers need to engage in the house-hunting process for a few weeks to a few months in order to find homes that truly meet their needs and get them under contract. Turn-around times can be quite tight, with houses generally hitting the market on Thursdays or Fridays and many sellers choosing an offer by Sunday or Monday.
As you set out to find the right home, try to schedule your timing so that you’re available most weekends for the next couple of months. Of course, we can always work around travel and events that do come up that’s life! Going into this process with an expectation of spending some time viewing homes for at least the next few weeks will help to mitigate the stress of scheduling down the line.
Prepare for Changing Criteria and Compromises
While it’s crucial to nail down your budget and wishlist at the beginning of your search, priorities do change. If we spend a couple of weeks viewing homes that don’t quite work, or if our search is so specific that we need to throw away some criteria, it’s likely that some opportunities for compromises and pivots will arise.
Be specific about what you’re changing in your search and why. Maintain clarity about your needs, even if a few weeks go by without a successful offer. Ending up in a home that’s not right for you is worse than spending a few more weeks waiting for your ideal home to hit the market and accept your offer.
Searching for a home can be an emotional and personal endeavor, especially the first time! It’s common to have some periods of frustration or stress when trying to buy a home. Everyone will have different needs during this process, and it’s important to communicate with your realtor and with whomever is purchasing the home with you about what you need, any shifting ideas, and any concerns that come up. As long as everyone stays in the loop, we can shift our plans and strategies to find success together.
If you have questions about getting started on your home buying journey, please Contact me