Three Simple Steps to Less Stress When Buying a Home4/22/2016
It's no surprise in today's market that people believe buying a home is an extremely stressful process. Why would anyone think otherwise when we are continually inundated with constant information on what to do, what not to do, what to look for, what not to look for, pricing information, financing options, closing costs, inspection lists, attorney fees, property taxes, interest rates, fixed rates, types of mortgages, agency fees and so on and so forth and all this before you even start the process. Well I'm going to toss a little more information your way but with the hope of simplifying a few things for you so buying your first home, next home, or vacation home can be a much more enjoyable experience.
First of all the most important and initial step to take before doing anything else is get your finances in order. Seriously even before you start searching the web and going to open houses or even dreaming of your next home. Do your due diligence! I can't express this enough! Call your bank, call a mortgage professional, consult with a financial expert but just do it. So many people just assume they have good credit and that they can afford a certain amount when looking to purchase a home when in fact they have no idea. This would be like going to the grocery store without knowing what's in your wallet. Imagine being in the checkout line without knowing if you can afford what's in your cart or finding out you could have afforded much more for the same price? Wouldn't both experiences cause you to do your due diligence ahead of time? Then why would anyone go unprepared into buying a home? This simple process, although a little time consuming initially I guarantee will save you so much more time, trouble and added stress in the long run.
Gather all your financial information and consult with a professional. Find out all of your options and the best choices that are available to you. There are so many different alternatives today that you may be shocked at the possibilities that you never even knew existed. Once you are through with step one the guessing work is taken out of the equation. Your financial institution will be able to provide you with a pre approval letter for the amount you qualify for thus saving you great time and energy. Imagine your disappointment when you finally find your dream home before taking care of step one only to find out you were not qualified to buy it or worse losing out to a prepared buyer because you waited until you found a home before actually starting the necessary process to buy it. Please! Simply take care of step one and THEN go shopping with confidence!
Next step is finding a local expert to assist you. Should you call your mother's next door neighbor's cousin's daughter who just got her real estate licence? Perhaps, if you feel comfortable with that or should you search for local experts in the area? The choice is up to you but if you are moving to an area that you really do not know much about I would highly advise you to look for some agents that are local to the area. Check out their website. Is the information dated? Do they seem to have a strong social media network? Are they with a reputable company? Do they seem to be knowledgeable about the community? Do they have a network in place to recommend people such as attorneys, tradesmen, and inspectors that will help make your life less stressful while going through the process? Do they have similarities? Kids? Dogs? For example if the realtor has kids they may be more likely to understand the importance of schools, pediatricians, and child activities with a ready list of personal recommendations. Interview some top choices and remember they are going to be working for you! This person you choose is going to be helping you make one of the biggest decisions you will ever make so do not settle on just anyone make sure they are a good fit. Most importantly even though you are not paying the agent directly as the seller in almost all cases pays the commission fee, make sure that they are always working for you! If an agent is not doing something with your best interest in mind than find another agent! It may sound harsh but I hear over and over from people telling me that they had a bad experience with their agent and I always ask, then why did you stay with them? I again remind you this process can be stressful but dealing with your own agent should never be a contributor to that stress.
Lastly, decisions, choices, must haves, make your lists! What is most important to you? Your family? How do you like to spend your time? What are your needs and must haves in a house vs. your desires and wish list. Is price, location, and schools important? Or is privacy, a large yard and a pool most important? Collaborate with your spouse/family etc. and then go over this list with your realtor! Make sure he/she doesn't waste your time with homes that do not have at least five of your most important "Must Haves". Make sure you know what you want and that your realtor knows as well! He or she should go over your list with you and give you realistic expectations of the feasibility of accomplishing such a task. Based on the area, current market and their own knowledge and expertise a good agent will be honest with you giving you supportive information for setting realistic goals. If an agent just says yes to all of your expectations or continually gives you false hope then again find another agent. Your time is valuable and if you are not happy with the process then you will undeniably be stressed and accomplishing your goal will be that much harder.
Remember buying a home will never be stress free but I can promise if you take the time to follow these few simple steps before you start the process you will have a much more pleasurable experience with a lot less stress.
By Lisa Noweski
Re/Max The Real Estate Leaders