If you find lots of great homes are available and cannot decide which residence to buy, there is no need to stress. Rather than submit multiple offers to purchase various houses, you should hone your home search. By doing so, you can discover the right residence, at the right price.
Now, let's take a look at three tips to help you narrow your home search.
1. Define Your Dream Home
Think about the features you want in your dream home. Then, you can make a list of "must-have" home features and search for residences that offer these features.
Furthermore, consider where you want to reside. If you prefer big city living, for example, you may want to focus exclusively on city houses. On the other hand, if you want to reside in a small town, you can search for residences in myriad small towns.
2. Conduct a Preliminary Housing Market Review
Let's face it – searching for a home can be overwhelming, regardless of whether you are a first-time or experienced homebuyer. But if you perform a preliminary housing market review, you can get a good idea about the volume and quality of available residences. Next, you can use this real estate market information to map out your homebuying journey.
Of course, it may be beneficial to attend open house events as well. These events enable you to get an up-close look at assorted residences. They also can help you understand the features you want in your dream house so you can further refine your home search.
3. Consult with a Real Estate Agent
When it comes to navigating the housing market, it helps to have a real estate expert at your side. Thankfully, real estate agents are available in cities and towns nationwide, and these housing market experts are happy to help you acquire a superb residence at an affordable price.
A real estate agent understands what it takes to help you find a quality home that won't force you to break your budget. First, he or she will learn about your homebuying goals and teach you about the real estate market. A real estate agent next will help you analyze the real estate market and explore a broad range of houses. And once you find a house you want to buy, a real estate agent will help you craft a competitive offer to purchase this residence.
Let's not forget about the guidance a real estate agent provides throughout the homebuying journey, either. Purchasing a house is no small feat, and a real estate agent will take the guesswork out of the homebuying cycle. Best of all, a real estate agent can respond to your homebuying concerns and questions at any time.
If you want to discover a home that matches your expectations, it helps to plan ahead for the property buying journey. By taking advantage of the aforementioned tips, you can streamline your house search and find your ideal home faster than ever before.
Do you ever wish that they taught a class in high school called, “Things You’ll Actually Need to Know In Life?” You’d learn how to prepare your taxes, what investing is, and how to buy a home.
Unfortunately, all of these important life lessons tend to be self-taught; you pick them up along the way and learn from your mistakes.
However, it needn’t be that way. Our goal today is to give you an accurate idea of what to expect when you’re buying your first home. We’ll go over a typically home buying timeline and discuss how long each step can take. This will give you a better idea of how long it will take to close on your first home.
Step 1: Build credit and save for a down payment
Estimated time: 2+ years
The first step of buying a home is to make sure you’re financially secure enough to do so. While there are ways to purchase a home with low or no down payments (See FHA, USDA, and VA loans), generally it’s wiser to wait until you have a sizable down payment saved. This will save you money in interest and mortgage insurance in the long run.
Next, you’ll need to start working on your credit. If your credit score took some hits due to late payments when you were younger, now is the time to start fixing those mistakes by making on-time payments and paying off outstanding balances.
Step 2: Have a plan for the next phase of your life
Estimated time 6+ months
One of the most important, and least talked about, parts of buying a home is understanding what it means to own a home. If you have a spouse, partner, or family, you’ll need to be in agreement that you’re prepared to stay in one place for the next 5 or more years.
Buying a home is expensive and you won’t want to go through the process of closing on a home if you aren’t sure you’ll stay. This means making sure your career won’t bring you elsewhere in the near future.
Step 3: Get prequalified and preapproved
Estimated time 1-3 days (depending on how much initiative you take)
Getting prequalified for a mortgage takes minutes. You simply fill out an online form and the lender will give you an idea of the type and size loan you could qualify for. Be forewarned: they’ll also use this information to call and bother you about getting a mortgage from them.
Once you’re prequalified, it’s just a matter of working with the lender to provide the correct documentation for pre-approval.
Getting preapproved takes a bit longer (1-3 days), since it requires a credit check and some work on your part--namely, gathering and sending income verification.
Once you’re preapproved, you can safely start shopping for homes without worrying that you’re wasting time looking at homes that are overbudget.
Step 4: House Hunting
Estimated time: 30+ days
It’s a seller’s market. So, if you’re buying a home right now there is competition out there. You’ll need to dedicate a substantial amount of time to researching homes online, contacting sellers’ agents, and following up on calls. Like before, the amount of effort you put into this process determines how quickly and smoothly you’ll get through it.
Step 5: Making an offer and closing
Estimated time: ~50 days
Average closing times for buying a home has grown to 50 days according to a recent study. However, by securing financing ahead of time and acting quickly, you can drastically cut down the time of these process to as little as two weeks.
An open house offers an excellent opportunity for a seller to showcase his or her residence to a large group of buyers. As such, it is important for a seller to plan ahead for an open house. If a seller devotes time and energy to prepare for an open house, his or her residence may make a positive impression on buyers.
Ultimately, there are several things that sellers need to consider before they host an open house, such as:
1. Home Interior and Exterior
A home's interior and exterior must dazzle buyers during an open house. Otherwise, a home is unlikely to make a long-lasting impression on a buyer.
To upgrade a house's interior, a seller should clean each room. Mop the floors, wipe down countertops and ensure each room is neat and tidy. Also, professional home cleaning companies are available that can help a seller quickly remove dirt, dust and debris from his or her residence.
Meanwhile, to upgrade a home's exterior, a seller should repair any damaged or cracked siding. If a seller requires extra assistance, he or she can reach out to local home improvement professionals to perform house exterior repairs as well.
2. Lawn Care
A home's messy, weed-filled lawn is unlikely to garner buyers' attention. In fact, this lawn may prove to be an instant turn-off to buyers when they attend an open house.
For sellers, it can be quick and easy to enhance a home's lawn. By mowing the lawn, trimming the hedges and performing other lawn care tasks, a seller can transform a drab lawn into a stunning one.
A seller should continue to take care of his or her lawn throughout the house selling cycle, too. If a home has an amazing lawn, this residence may capture buyers' attention, regardless of when a seller hosts an open house.
Antiques, knick-knacks and various decorations may fill your house, but these items may appear to be "clutter" in the eyes of homebuyers. Therefore, you may want to put your personal belongings into storage before you host an open house. This will allow you to keep your personal items safe during an open house. At the same time, it will help buyers envision what life could be like if they purchase your residence.
Preparing for an open house sometimes can be difficult. Thankfully, you can hire a real estate agent who can help you plan for any open house, at any time.
A real estate agent can provide recommendations to help you prepare for an open house. Plus, he or she can share buyers' feedback following an open house and ensure you can make your residence into an attractive option for buyers.
Ready to host an open house? Consider the aforementioned factors, and you can get ready for an upcoming open house. And as a result, you can boost the likelihood that an open house leads to multiple offers to purchase your residence.
Selling a home for the first time can be tricky. In fact, first-time home sellers often make mistakes that prolong the home selling process. Perhaps even worse, these errors may cause a home seller to miss out on opportunities to optimize the value of his or her residence.
Now, let's take a look at three common mistakes that first-time home sellers make, as well as ways to avoid these problems.
1. Setting an Unrealistic Initial Asking Price
Although you might have paid a hefty sum for your house a few years ago, what your home was worth then is unlikely to match its current value. However, if you set an unrealistic initial asking price for your residence, you risk alienating dozens of potential buyers.
Before you set a price for your house, it pays to perform plenty of housing market research. That way, you can see how your home stacks up against the competition and price it based on the current real estate sector's conditions.
Furthermore, you may want to conduct a home appraisal prior to listing your house. Following a home appraisal, you'll receive a property valuation to help you establish a competitive price for your residence.
2. Failing to Provide Full Details About Your House
No home is perfect, and a home seller who withholds information about his or her residence risks wasting precious time and resources. To better understand why this may be the case, let's consider an example.
If a home seller fails to include information about a faulty heating and cooling system in a home listing, a buyer will be unaware of the problem. A buyer then may submit an offer on this house that a seller accepts. But during a home inspection, a property inspector likely will discover the defective heating and cooling system, which leads the buyer to rescind his or her offer. And at this point, the seller will have to restart the home selling process from square one.
When it comes to selling a home, it helps to be honest. If you provide full details about your residence, you can help a buyer make an informed decision and reduce the risk of that a purchase agreement will fall apart after a home inspection.
3. Choosing an Ineffective Real Estate Agent
A real estate agent should have a seller's best interests in mind. As such, this housing market professional will collaborate with a seller throughout the home selling journey to ensure a seller can optimize his or her earnings.
Unfortunately, not all real estate agents possess the same skills. But if you evaluate a variety of real estate agents, you can increase the likelihood of finding one who matches or exceeds your expectations.
Employ a real estate agent with a proven reputation. And if you're uncertain about whether a real estate agent can help you achieve your home selling goals, it usually helps to request client referrals from this housing market professional.
Streamline the process of selling your home – avoid the aforementioned first-time home seller mistakes, and you can boost your chances of enjoying a quick, profitable home selling experience.