Whether you’re a first-time homebuyer or a seasoned real estate investor, buying a home is an exciting process. However, there’s also a lot to consider when you decide to buy. So before you begin your search for the perfect property, here are four questions you should ask yourself.
Take the time to figure out what type of property you want to buy. From single-family and multi-family homes to condos and co-ops, there are many different options on the market and it’s important to choose the type that best fits your needs. Figuring out the town or neighborhood you want to live in is equally important. While a property might have all of the amenities you’re looking for, factors like crime rate, school ranking and proximity to highways can impact the overall home-owning experience. A good idea is to list out and prioritize your needs (e.g. large backyard, great school system) before you begin your search.
The rule of thumb is that you should never spend more than 30% of your monthly income on a mortgage payment. An alternate rule states that you can afford to buy a property that runs about two-and-a-half times your annual salary. For a more tailored look at what you can afford, use an online mortgage calculator to see what your monthly mortgage payments would be if you bought a home today. A simple Google search will yield a number of good options.
A few months before you start searching for a home, review your credit history and make sure it is in good standing. Get copies of your credit report, ensure that it’s accurate, and fix any issues you discover. It’s likely that you’ll also want to get pre-approved for a home loan, which will put you in a better position to make a serious offer once you find the right property. Many sellers wont even entertain offers unless accompanied by proof of funds. A pre-approval from a lender is based on your credit history, debt, and income, so making sure this are in order ahead of time can help move the process along. Of course, don’t be scared away if your credit is less than perfect or you don’t think your debt to income ratio will work. There are many different loan products available that help potential buyers with less than stellar numbers get on their feet and the path to home-ownership.
Do your research! Your opening bid should be based on the sales trends of similar homes in the area. So before making your opening bid, get online and review the selling prices of comparable properties. This is called a CMA and something your agent will help do and explain. If these properties sold for less than the current asking price of the home you’re looking at, you can feel comfortable making a bid that’s slightly lower than what the seller is asking. Of course, the CMA is merely a guide and a number of factors can affect whether an offer might be accepted, from including or leaving out contingencies, to down payment amount, cash offers, days on market, etc.
Selling your home is a big financial and emotional task, which requires lots of planning. So before you decide to put your home on the market, here are four questions to consider.
Several factors go into determining your home’s market value. These include the condition of the property, square footage, location, amenities, as well as recent comparable property sales. For a snapshot of your home’s current value, you can enter your address into a free online value estimator tool found by clicking here. Alternatively, you can look at a recent property tax bill to get your home’s tax assessed value, which is a percentage of your home’s fair market value. If you know your state’s assessment rate (which is usually between 80 and 90 percent), you can estimate fair market value by dividing your tax assessed value by that assessment rate. However, using a CMA is much more accurate.
There are several simple, low-cost things you can do to boost the value of your home. These include eliminating clutter, washing windows and walls, and installing higher wattage bulbs to create a brighter environment. Larger projects, like adding bedrooms and renovating kitchens and bathrooms, typically yield more substantial increases in sales price but obviously cost more. If your property is empty, staging your home, which helps paint a picture for how buyers will use their new space, can also add value. We have a number of stagers we have worked with in the past and can provide recommendations if needed.
The time your home spends on the market depends on several factors, including location, how competitively your home is priced, and how aggressively your home is marketed. Statistics show that if a home is properly priced, an offer should come in within the first 12 showings. If you want to speed up the sales process, don’t underestimate the value of staging. Research shows that well-staged homes can sell up to 32 percent faster than homes that aren’t staged. This can simply mean making sure your home is well decorated and clean before showings or hiring a professional to bring furniture in.
A real estate agent can help with all aspects of the selling process, from pricing to marketing to handling the intricacies of closing. An agent will negotiate on your behalf to secure the best price – and quickest sale – possible. For more detail check out the listing services we provide by clicking here.
Our aim is always to develop long-term relationships and work passionately on the client’s behalf to help them achieve their real estate goals. Whether its purchasing your first home or creating passive income, it’s about listening and understanding, getting to know the individual client and their needs, and most importantly taking the stress out of the transaction.Contact Us