5 Tips for Buying a Home
Looking to buy a home? It's exciting if you've never done it before, but it's important to remember this is a huge decision and takes some time. Here are five essential tips for making the process as smooth as possible.
#1 Get Your Finances In Order
Start by getting a full picture of your credit. Obtain copies of your credit report. Make sure the facts are correct, and fix any problems you find. Next, find a suitable lender and get pre-approved for a loan. This will put you in a better position to make a serious offer when you do find the right house.
#2 Find A House You Can Afford
There’s a general rule of thumb when it comes to buying a home: two-and-a-half times your annual salary. There are also a number of tools and calculators online that can help you understand how your income, debt, and expenses affect what you can afford. Don’t forget, too, that there are lots of considerations beyond the sticker price, including property taxes, energy costs, etc. But there are tax right offs as well when you own a home, so it's all about balancing what matters most to you financially.
#3 Hire A Professional
While the Internet gives buyers unprecedented access to home listings and resources, many aspects of the buying process require a level of expertise you can’t pick up from surfing the web. That’s why you’re better off using a professional real estate agent than going it alone. If possible, recruit an exclusive buyer agent (a single agent), who will have your interests at heart and can help you with strategies during the bidding process.
#4 Do Your Homework
Before making a bid, do some research to determine the state of the market at large. Is it more favorable for sellers or buyers? Next, look at sales trends of similar homes in the area or neighborhood. Look at prices for the last few months. Come up with an asking price that’s competitive, but also realistic, otherwise, you may end up ticking off your seller. A professional can help you do a lot of this legwork.
#5 Think Long Term
Obviously, you shouldn’t buy unless you’re sure you’ll be staying put for at least a few years. Beyond that, you should consider things like potential job changes, whether your family will grow, and if you'll be prepared to take on all that home ownership entails. When it comes to the house itself, you should hire your own home inspector, who can point out potential problems that could require costly repairs in the future.
If you're ready to purchase a new home, I am a local Realtor® in the Tampa Bay area and would love to help you. I can find the right neighborhood and home to fit your needs.
Keller Williams Tampa Properties
5020 W Linebaugh Ave #100
Tampa, FL 33618