You’ve likely heard it a million times, but meeting with a lender is an absolute must when getting ready to purchase a home. If W-2s, pay stubs, two years of tax returns and a credit check are not asked for, the lender is not doing its homework and you should move on.
On Jan. 9, the Federal Housing Administration announced their Title II forward mortgages with a closing or disbursement date of Jan. 27 or later will have a 25-point reduction in monthly mortgage insurance, leading to increased savings for borrowers. It’s an excellent idea to compare different loan programs with your lender to find out which makes the most sense for your specific situation.
Preview the neighborhood.
With the proliferation of online marketing, previewing homes through pictures and virtual tours makes narrowing your home search much easier. Once you have an idea of the style and features you can afford and that meet your wants and needs, it’s time to make sure the neighborhood meets your expectations as well.
When it comes down to it, nothing beats an actual drive through your prospective area. That said, this is the 21st century and we now have tools to aid us when that’s easier said than done. Sites like instantstreetview.com allow users to view specific addresses from the street, or you can use Google Earth for a satellite image of where the house is located.
The spring market is going to arrive early this year. Inventory levels are low nationwide and buyers are already scrambling to find a house following the jump in mortgage rates after the presidential election. Meet with your agent now to determine what projects need to be taken care of to prepare your house for listing. By tackling these items sooner than later, you’ll be ready to put your house on the market when the time is right and before everyone who is waiting for the spring market to ramp up, thus eliminating the bulk of your competition.
Visit open houses.
Most articles you read will discuss the importance of buyers visiting open houses to gauge the market, but it is just as vital for sellers to preview them as well. When listing your house, it’s important to have an idea of what kind of competition you’re up against and, as we all know, pictures can never compare to real life perspective.
Have your agent set you up on an online search which automatically updates you to new listings and status changes to houses in and around your neighborhood. This will ensure you’re constantly educated on the current state of the market and should also alert you to any upcoming open houses and when they are being held.
Select an agent.
Your real estate agent fills one of the most integral roles in your homebuying and selling process, and selecting who you work with should be a decision into which you put a lot of thought. Selecting an agent now will give you the opportunity to get help tackling key tasks, like selecting a lender or preparing your house for market.
The only source better than a referral from a trusted individual who had a great experience with an agent is multiple people praising that same agent. This shows consistently great results and not just a lucky break. Still, you need to make sure that agent will work well for you personally.
Three key aspects to look for are experience, communication and time. Make sure your agent has the experience to not only prepare you for the selling or buying process, but to help you handle any situation that arises. He or she should recognize a transaction will have its moments of difficulty, but should have the knowledge to handle those moments well. If he is a newbie, having an experienced agent watching his every move is vital to keep him from having that “oops” moment during your transaction.
Communication doesn’t just mean keeping you updated about new listings or what’s going on throughout the transaction, but doing so in a way that makes sense to you. From the time you sit down for that first meeting with your agent, you should feel engaged, educated and energized.