Is buying a home in 2023 in your plan? Right now, there are only a few homes to see and they go pending very quickly! How in the world can someone make a decision to buy a home in less than 24 hours from the time they first see it? The Answer: Real Preparedness!
Here are our 6 Proven Tips for making the home buying process as smooth as possible in 2023. Enjoy!
1. Get your finances in order
Even if you’re not sure you will actually be buying a home in the next 60 days, is there really a downside to getting your finances in order right now? Start by getting a full picture of your credit: obtain copies of your credit report right away. Make sure all facts are correct, and fix any irregularities you find (yes, you might find some).
2. Hire a pro! Get setup with a top notch REALTOR®
While today’s Internet gives buyers never-before-seen access to homes for sale and there are numerous ‘resources’ out there, most aspects of the actual buying process require a level of expertise you’ll never pick up from casually surfing the web. With each and every decision in the process, there is a potential to make or lose tens of thousands of dollars. This is why you are much better off hiring a top real estate agent than going it alone!
You must find an agent who will have your interests at heart, and can help you with strategies during the entire process: from finding off-market and on-market deals, to negotiating the agreement of sale, then negotiating again throughout the transaction to close process…the list goes on and on. The tools and strategies that we are using right now to secure homes for our buyers we weren’t even using just a couple of years ago. Why? The market is ALWAYS changing. The only way to have the competitive edge, is to be in the middle of it everyday like a top real estate professional.
3. Connect with a great lender
Next, find a lender (maybe even interview a few with the help of your ‘top notch REALTOR®’) in order to get pre-approved for your home loan. You wouldn’t believe how many clients we have worked with over the years that while buying a home discover inaccurate information on their credit report and did not even know about it until they start the home-buying process. Once you receive your pre-approval letter in hand, you will be in a better position to make a serious offer and get it accepted when you do find the right house. Also, you’ll know exactly the maximum amount the bank will loan you to make your purchase.
4. Find a house you can afford
As with engagement rings, there are generals rule of thumb out there when it comes to buying a home. we have heard some general advice of “two-and-a-half times your annual salary”. Well, for a lot of the clients we have helped over the years, that would be complete overkill! There are a number of tools and calculators online that can help you understand how your income, debt, and expenses affect what you can actually afford. When buying a home, that there are lots of considerations beyond the sticker price, including property taxes, energy costs, etc. Working with a great agent and great lender will help you arrive at the right numbers for you.
5. Do your homework
Before making your offer, you and your agent will do research of homes for sale around the area you’ve selected to determine the state of the market at large. Is it more favorable for sellers or buyers? At the time of this writing, the Lancaster market is very favorable for the seller in certain price ranges and is still fairly balanced in other price ranges. Next, look at overall sales trends of similar homes in the area or neighborhood. Look at historical prices over the last few months. You’ll need to come up with an asking price that’s competitive AND realistic. Otherwise, you may not be able to land the home you really want once you have finally found it.
6. Always think long term
You shouldn’t buying a home unless you’re sure you will be staying put for a couple of years. Things don’t always go to plan, but why buy a house if you already knew that you’ve will not be there more than a year? Not good planning. No one can see into the future, but thinking through your plan for the next 2-4 years is a major factor into your overall decision making process.
If you need to sell your current home before buying a home next, be sure to check out this post:
Increase Your Home’s Value With These 10 Tweaks