Determine Your Budget
The development of a household budget is a desirable activity both before you make a real estate purchase as well as consistently during your ownership. By preparing a budget while you are looking at homes, you can better focus on mortgage payment goals and how the new house will affect your total expenses. Maintaining a budget during the time you own the home can help to prevent potential financial disasters as well as point you in a money saving direction so you have more funds available for those things that you need or want.
Getting Approved for a Loan
Once you have established your budget, you should seek pre-approval for a mortgage loan. If you are not currently working with a lender, the Matthews team can help you find a lender to work with. Establishing pre-approval will not only give you a clear idea of how much of a loan for which you can be approved, it will make your home-buying process a great deal easier (and save a lot of time later.) You will be able to determine your limits in advance and base your purchasing decision around how much home you can afford. It allows you to make a more aggressive offer, present the seller with more attractive terms and negotiate a better price. It also helps prevent you from losing out to another purchaser who already has financing arranged.
Location and Neighborhood
As you have probably heard numerous times, location is usually the most important factor in the value of a home. Ask the Matthews team to help you find areas that have the amenities that will fit your needs such the location of schools, employment centers, recreation, shopping, churches and more.
Obviously, buying a home that fits your current needs and wants is the main priority, but this should not eliminate or overshadow an awareness that future needs and wants must also be considered. Whether your future includes family additions, home-based business, or kids leaving for college, these future concerns should be addressed. Do you plan to stay in the home for a considerable length of time or do you have plans of selling within a specific time frame? These things need to be thought about before a decision is made.
Minimum Requirements/Wants Vs. Needs
Before you embark on your search for the perfect house with the Matthews team, it is important that you make a realistic “shopping list” in an attempt to narrow your choice of properties. Hunting for a home can be a time-consuming process, especially if you have not determined in advance the parameters of your search. Many home buyers make the mistake of misinterpreting a WANT as a NEED. As a result, they often dismiss homes that perfectly fit their needs in search for one that has their wants. This is not to say that you cannot have what you desire in your home – just that you must be able to differentiate between what you truly need and what you would like to have. Your budget must be the determining factor here, not a “wish list.” Note also that many WANTS can be changed in a particular home. If the home doesn’t have that feature now, you can change it later.
Use a Scorecard
When you go hunting for a house, one of the first things that you will notice is that after looking at two or three properties in a given day, the features of the houses seem to blend together. It becomes difficult to remember which house had the beautiful carpeting and which house had the wonderful deck overlooking the lake. Our agents will help you keep track of the specifics on each house you view. Not only will this make your search easier, it will help immensely when you sit down to eliminate potential choices.