Before you start shopping for your property, it is a good idea to make some preparations.
While knowing how much you can afford is your first step, sellers will be much more receptive to potential buyers who have been pre-approved by a mortgage lender. You’ll also avoid being disappointed when going after homes that are out of your price range. With Pre-Approval, the buyer actually applies for a mortgage and receives a conditional commitment in writing from a lender. This way, assuming the home you’re interested in is at or under the amount you are pre-qualified for, the seller knows immediately that you are a serious buyer for that property.
Determine Needs and Wants
Make two lists. The first should include items you must have (i.e., the number of bedrooms you need for the size of your family, location, parking, etc.). The second list is your wishes, things you would like to have (roof deck, patio, waterview, concierge service, etc.) but that are not absolutely necessary. Realistically for first-time buyers, you probably will not get everything on your wish list, but it will help your Capital Residential real estate advisor stay on track for what you are looking for.
Representation by a Professional
Not all real estate Agents are created equal. Capital Residential offers exclusive buyer representation with a focus on client satisfaction and results. No one will work harder on your behalf.
Focus and Organization
Keep items handy that will assist you in maximizing your home search efforts. Such items may include:
- One or more detailed maps with your areas of interest highlighted.
- A file of the properties that your agent has shown to you, along with listings you have found on the internet.
- Paper and pen, for taking notes as you search.
- Instant or video camera to help refresh your memory on individual properties, especially if you are attending a series of showings.
Look at a potential property as if you are the seller. Would a prospective buyer find it attractive based on location, crime rate, proximity to positives (shopping, parks, subway access, and negative (abandoned properties, nightclub on first floor, noisy intersection) features of the area?
Visualize the House Empty and With Your Decor
Keep an open mind. Sometimes the seller’s furntiture or taste detracts from the fundamentals of the house. Remember the big picture and focus on the details most important in your search. Are the rooms laid out to fit your needs? Is there enough light? Are there enough bedrooms and bathrooms? Is there a garage? This is not always easy to do, but a second visit with pictures of your furniture, and measurements in hand, may help you try to visualize better.
Instead of thinking with your heart when you find a home, think with your head. Does this home really meet your needs? There are many condos and houses on the market, so don’t make a hurried decision that you may regret later.
A few extra dollars well spent now may save you big expenses in the long run. The details involved in home buying can be overwhelming, but they are important to your bottomline. That is why having a professional represent you and keep track of all the critical points for you is highly recommended. I will oversee the entire process giving you peace of mind and the confidence you want in a real estate agency. Such essentials are:
- Include inspection & mortgage contingencies in your written offer.
- Have the property inspected by a professional, licensed home inspector.
- Request a second walk-through to take place within 24 hours of closing.
- You want to check to see that no changes have been made that were not agreed on (i.e., a nice chandelier that you assumed came with the sale having been replaced by a cheap ceiling light).
Create Your Financing File
This file should contain all your important financial documents. You will need it to secure financing for your property. Your financing file should contain:
- Financial statements
- Bank accounts
- Credit card information
- Auto loans
- Recent pay stubs
- Tax returns for two years
- Copies of leases for investment properties
- 401K statements, life insurance, stocks, bonds, and mutual account information.
Check Your Credit Rating
Your credit score will have a huge impact on what type of property you can buy, and at what price. It is first recommended to check your credit rating with an experienced lending institution so that we can determine what you can afford. The lender will research your credit ratings from the three credit reporting agencies Equifax, Experian and Trans Union. We will be happy to recommend experienced, knowledgeable lenders in the residential, construction, and commercial and investment real estate fields.
Be Careful With Your Finances
Now is not a good time to make sudden career changes or large purchases. You want to approach your property purchase from a position of financial stability.
Choosing a Real Estate Agent
Buying a property requires making many important financial decisions, understanding complex issues and completing a lot of paperwork. It helps to have an expert in your corner when undertaking such a large purchase. Capital Residential can guide you through this process, and also provide you with access to property listings before they hit the general market. Here are some factors to consider when choosing your real estate professional:
- Look for a full-time agent who has experience completing transactions similar to yours.
- Interview a few agents. Are they familiar with the specific locations in which you are interested? Ask how much time the agent will have for you, and if they are available at night and on weekends.
- Ask about their credentials and education. A good agent will continually strive to improve and gain knowledge of the latest real estate trends and hold the highest designations in their respective fields of expertise.
- Does the agent return your calls promptly? Time is money when attempting to buy a property.
- Ask for a list of properties they have sold or a list of references.
- Choose an agent who listens attentively to your needs and concerns. Pick an agent with whom you feel comfortable.