Our Guide for Home Buyers
We hope you find this brief guide useful and a starting point to prepare for buying your home.
You've reached a point where you're ready to buy a new house. This is one of the most exciting times in life.
A great place to start is to think through the features you need in a new home versus the features you want.
Points to ponder:
- Is your family growing? Perhaps a larger house is in order.
- Have all the kids grownup and moved out? Perhaps something smaller is needed.
- Will you need a full mother-in-law suite or just a fourth bedroom and 3 bathrooms?
- Do you want a 3 car garage when a 2 car garage will satisfy your need?
- Do you want your own swimming pool or will a community pool fill the need?
Taking a critical eye to study the area in which you want to live is essential. Having a firm grasp on the different factors that affect the Fair Market Value of a house does two things:
- First, it gives you a feel houses within your budget.
- Second, you may find a better opportunity that was not on your initial target area.
Things worth remembering:
- To which city or area do you want to move?
- Are there any specific subdivisions or communities you've really had your eye on?
- Have you identified secondary areas to move to in case the house you want is not available in the first area of choice?
The all important question is: how much house can you afford?
Taking the time to research the amount of financing you can get approved for coupled with the amount of money you have saved for a down payment will greatly aid your house hunting.
A mortgage professional can provide valuable insight into the financing aspects of buying a home. If you don't know a mortgage professional, The Ocean Team is happy to put you in touch with one of our mortgage partners.
Now that you have a clear picture of your budget, you're ready to research lenders and mortgage companies who are friendly to folks like you. Researching lenders is high in importance so you can have a firm grasp on the amount of financing a lender is comfortable with extending to you.
The second most important question to answer: what is your credit score?
Not to put too fine a point on it...a good credit score will open doors for you; whereas, a poor credit score signals an uphill climb.
Sources are available for future home buyers to check their credit scores once a year. This is advised because even a small error on your credit report could have significant ramifications to your score.
Once your budget and credit score have been determined, you will have an excellent point of reference for figuring out which federal, state, or private lending assistance programs you may qualify for.
Also, if you are a first-time home buyer, there are programs available to help you through the process. We're happy to get you pointed in the right direction.
Choosing the right realtor with whom to work is one of the most important decisions to make through the whole process.
Things to consider:
- Areas of Expertise:
- Does your realtor specialize in certain types of real estate (e.g. energy efficient homes in Hernando County, luxury homes on Clearwater Beach, or single family homes in Trinity and Odessa)?
- If so, are those specializations in alignment with the home you're buying?
- Comfort Level:
- Quite simply, do you feel as though you can talk candidly about buying your new home with your chosen realtor?
Outside of money and financing, the most important factor influencing the outcome of your house hunt is available inventory. The number of houses for sale at any given time is something you will need to account for and be sensitive to when reviewing your list of wants & needs.
Questions to ask yourself:
- If the house you've profiled in your list of needs & wants is not available in your target area, will you be happy living elsewhere?
- Will you be happy living in your target area but not in a house that fits every criteria on your wishlist?
Outstanding! You've narrowed your list of options down to 3 or 4 houses you really, really like.
- Which house on your short list is your absolute favorite? Prioritizing your short list of picks can be helpful when it comes time to negotiate.
- Are you prepared to compete against another buyer in case someone else puts in a bid (more than yours) on the same house?
- Which items on your needs & wants list are negotiable versus those items that are non-negotiable?
- Have you identified what flags indicate it's time for you to walk away from the negotiation table and pursue another option?
Closing Day! You made it!
Points to Consider:
- Have you taken care of any legal, insurance, or financial obligations that could prevent the sale at the last minute?
- Do you have all necessary documents and identification for the closing and the transfer of ownership to you?
Congratulations on buying your new home!