Preparing to Buy a Home
Buying a home is an exciting time in your life, so exciting that you may be tempted to just jump right in and sign on the dotted line without the right consultation or preparation. Not so fast. There are important steps that a prospective buyer should know about and complete before even starting to look at homes to ensure the experience is an exceptional one.
The first step (and quite often initially overlooked due the excitement of the process) of home buying must be to determine what you can and want to financially afford, both in terms of cash up front to close as well as for your monthly housing expense. The best first step is to communicate with a licensed mortgage professional in your local area. This can be either a loan officer at your bank or a mortgage broker. If you don’t know someone, ask for a referral from friends or family that have specific knowledge and experience, or ask your realtor if you have one.
Home Affordability Calculators can also be a good tool, as they allow you to weigh your expectations against legitimate options available. You’ll also need to know your credit score is in order to determine if your mortgage will be within an affordable range. The lower your credit score, the higher your mortgage’s interest rate could be. Lastly, you’ll want to understand the steps in the the home buying process so you are ready to proceed without any surprises.
Secure the Financials
As part of getting a mortgage, a cash down payment is required, which can range anywhere from three to 20 percent of the total cost of the home. As you determine the right price range for your financial situation, you’ll want to maintain your financial stability with income, cash in the bank and credit rating. As stated, there are multiple lender options available and you should feel confident that you are working with someone that can provide the best financing option.
Find the Right Agent
While you can technically search for a home all on your own, the expertise of an agent is indispensable and will save you time, money, possible frustrations and provide expert guidance throughout the entire process. You must enlist the right agent to help you in your search. Upon meeting with an agent, make sure you really ask all the important questions.
- How does the agent operate: Work with a team? Full-time or part-time? Track record and experience? Market knowledge? Transactional expertise? It’s important to know as many details as possible about your agent.
- What’s his or her reputation? Have you been provided testimonials or was the agent referred? You can learn a great deal from what others think or have experienced.
Your realtor’s role isn’t simply to sell you a home; it’s to guide you and support you through one of the most important decisions of your life. Therefore, choosing the right agent is of the utmost importance.
If you’re looking to purchase a home in South Florida, turn to your real estate family at Stein Posner. Our expert team of South Florida real estate agents are experts in pairing prospective buyers with the homes of their dreams. Give us a call today to get started.