Eat healthy, start exercising, buy a new home. Why not?! ❤
If you’re planning on buying a home in 2017 we’ve done some of the heavy lifting for you and put together a list of our 10 best New Year’s resolutions that will help you get the jump-start on getting into your dream home!
1. Get your finances in order so you know what you can afford
Make a budget and use free online tools and calculators to get an idea of what you can afford and what you can borrow. To most accurately determine what you can afford, get pre-approved with a lender who will tell you exactly how much home you can afford based on your financial situation. This will help you house-hunt and navigate through the market with more confidence.
In one of our older blog posts we talked about the importance of getting your finances in order in greater detail, check out 7 Critical Mistakes New Home Buyers Make and how to avoid them to get on track for 2017.
hot tip: Start saving 2 - 3 months worth of bank statements and your most recent pay stubs which will be used to get you approved quicker and more accurately.
2. Get a credit report and review it so you can work to improve your credit rating.
Fix all errors and practice good credit behaviour with a little discipline and planning. We recommend aiming for a credit rating above 760 for the best rates and terms. If you're getting pre-approved, this will be one of the steps that the lender will review.
These practices will help you take advantage of the better interest rates available for 2017!
3. Shop around and explore your mortgage options
Talk with a few different lenders before signing an application and include a wide variety of mortgage providers such as small local banks, credit unions, a mortgage broker, an online lender and a big lender such as Bank of America or Wells Fargo. Feel free to reach out to us as well! We're happy to refer some of the lenders we have worked with in the past who have provided our clients with an exceptional experience.
Make sure you choose the right mortgage for your situation–they aren’t a one size fits all and will be unique to your circumstances and financial goals.
4. Research the neighborhood before you buy a home there
Learn about the community, schools, crime rate and make sure to visit during the day (and at night) to learn what’s really going on there. Talk to a real estate professional to get the scoop on the area. You can even go as far as hanging out with folks who live in the neighborhood, ask them questions about what they like and dislike about that area to get a clear picture of what life might be like there.
hot tip: Get started with your neighbourhood research by browsing our neighbourhood spotlight blog posts where we dive deep into the different areas around San Diego!
5. Read and understand all documents before signing them
Yes, we know this is the most boring and dreadful part of buying a home, but it’s also one of the most important. You’ll be potentially spending the next 10 to 30 years of your life paying this loan so make sure everything makes sense now.
Be thorough, and ask questions about anything that is being assumed… remember the ancient and wise saying:
"When you assume, you are making an 'A**' out of ‘U' or ‘ME’!"
If you don’t understand something, ask before you sign.
6. Stay involved in the deal up until closing
Once the contract is signed, your work is not over. Besides making sure that all deposits are paid and contingencies waived in a timely manner, anticipate potential closing issues and deal with them. There are many moving parts throughout a real estate transaction and in order to have the best experience, it helps to stay on top of everything.
7. Always get a home inspection, even in a bidding war
Always, always, always, get a home inspection! It may seem expensive but it’s worth every penny in the long-term. A few hundred dollars for a good home insepctor can end up saving you a ton of money and also help to ensure that you avoid a potential money pit. If you want to know exactly why this is on the list for 2017 read the full article here.
8. Get expert advice
Do rely on the professionals. It will seriously save you time, money and headaches down the road.
Working with the right team is critical and a seasoned real estate agent can connect you to the right network of curated professionals they know, love and trust.
9. Find your perfect home
You can search ads for homes in your desired neighborhood and price range with your preferred features. Look online and in print and of course checkout your agents website–which lists the latest homes for sale with quick filter options to make sure you’re seeing what you want within your price range.
Make note of the homes you love and then spend a few hours on the weekend having fun visiting the open house tours for each.
10. Do not allow emotions to overtake common sense
Evaluate where you are now and where you’d like to be in the next 5 - 10 years and make sure you think things through before you impulsively make that leap towards the dream home you “love". There are many things to take into account beyond “that loving feeling” and it’s important that you set realistic limits on yourself to avoid having a dream turn into a nightmare.
One of the biggest benefits of hiring a real estate agent to help you out in the new year is their ability to be honest and unbiased while helping keep you grounded and moving towards your goals.
Sit-back, relax, and enjoy the journey. Take care of you, and do something YOU enjoy. The process of buying a new home can get messy, frustrating and stressful at times, remember… proper rest, relaxation and taking a moment to breathe will make you more productive, healthy and wise. Don't hesitate to lean on your agent as well. We always joke with our clients that "the therapy comes free." We've worked with many home buyers and you'd be surprised how many times we see similar issues come up.
We hope you found this list of New Year’s resolutions helpful. If you have any real estate related questions or would like more information on any of the above, please give us a contact. We’re always happy to help!
Here’s to a New You, a New Year and a New Home!
~John & Melissa Steele of Steele San Diego Homes