Buying a home is the most significant financial investment most people will ever make, and the decision to take this step should always include prudence. No one wants to spend hundreds of thousands of dollars, or even more, on a home only to wind up with regrets. Buying a new home should be an exciting time. And even though there are likely to be some stressful circumstances along the way, being prepared and working with a good team will go a long way toward rounding off the sharp edges and helping you get what you want. So, if you are thinking about entering the real estate arena, here are some tips to help keep it a fun and exciting adventure.
Acknowledge the Emotion Attached to the Experience
Yes, the home buying adventure is an emotionally charged experience. As you knocked around on Zillow in those early stages of the “contemplation period”, you could feel it, couldn’t you? And if you continue to follow the path, that won’t go away. Nor should it. However, if there is one thing that can cloud good judgment, it’s emotion. If you are trying to decide whether to take the plunge or even if you already have, this is an excellent time to take a moment and do a personal quality check. Are you prepared to balance emotion with judgment? A little emotional preparedness will go a long way as you move forward.
Review Your Finances
Once you have decided to pursue your dream of a new home, it’s time to look at your finances. For some, this is automatic. For others, maybe not so much. For all, it is an excellent time to take a hard look at your cost of living and try to determine how much of your budget you are willing to commit to housing. If you haven’t thought this through thoroughly, now is the time.
Be Clear About What You’re Looking For.
Of course, most potential buyers have a sense of what they want. But again, now is an excellent time to review. List-making can be an excellent exercise to create clarity, and here are three simple lists that should work.
Once you have clarified your needs vs. wants and reviewed your finances, it’s time to start interviewing candidates for your team.
Interview Your Real Estate Agent
Your realtor will be the hub of your search and your home purchase. You may already have an agent that you know you can trust and will protect your interests. If not, this will be a critical piece to building your team. Your realtor not only needs to be competent but also someone you can work with comfortably. Here are some vital points when considering your prospective realtor.
Your realtor is your access point, your project manager, negotiator, and sometimes even your grounding point during the stress points of the real estate buying process. So, if you don’t have someone you know and trust, don’t just take whoever Zillow assigns to you if you click that button. Be diligent about interviewing anyone who potentially will fill this role for you.
Get Pre-Qualified with a Lender
Unless you are ready to write a check for any home that meets your needs, you will need to get pre-qualified with a bank or lender to make an offer. Like agents, lenders are crucial to the success of a transaction. In this competitive market, coupled with sellers’ covid concerns, a prequalification is often required just to see a home. But most important is to know what it will cost you to buy and own your new home. Also, keep in mind, many properties go under contract within days of being listed on the MLS, and without a prequalification letter in hand, you may very well miss out.
Buying a home should always be an exciting experience. Being prepared and working with a good team that is invested in your success can best assure that you will find the right home. And, of course, if you are considering a home purchase in Ventura County, Rebecca & I would love the opportunity to talk to you about how we can help you achieve that dream.