I read in the paper the other day that there are four years of housing inventory currently on the market. Whoa! That’s a lot of houses and that tells me that there are great opportunities for buyers. The buyer has the upper hand right now. You can take your time shopping around, learn about the neighborhoods and be choosy about the home you plan to purchase.
With that said, it is a good idea to take a few things into consideration before taking the plunge. Doing a little planning beforehand will make for a focused search and will prevent you from wasting a lot of time while conducting your search.
1. Get a copy of your credit report. The top three credit agencies are Equifax, TransUnion and Experian (formerly TRW). Reviewing your credit report before applying for a mortgage will you help you to clear up any discrepancies on your report.
2. Get your papers in order. You will need to provide documentation to your mortgage broker to qualify for a mortgage. You mortgage broker will be able to provide you with a list of records needed.
3. Get preapproved for a mortgage. Find out how much you can afford. It is one of the first questions your Realtor will need to know. It helps to eliminate the homes that are not within your price range. Your Realtor should be able to recommend a mortgage broker to you to help you prequalify for a loan. Prequalifying for a loan will also help to make the negotiation process of buying a home run smoothly. Did you know that the general rule of thumb is a mortgage equal in value between two and three times our gross income?
4. Search online. Most consumers start their search online and I highly suggest all interested buyers do that. It gives you a starting point and will help you to communicate to your Realtor® what you are looking for and, just as importantly, what you are not looking for. It makes for more meaningful communication with your Realtor® and will help your Realtor to hone in on the key points important to you.
5. Shop for neighborhoods. There are many great neighborhoods in Jupiter, Florida and the surrounding areas. Along with the price range, you will need to decide if you want to live in a gated, golf, family friendly neighborhood. Our communities page can give you some insight into the neighborhoods in the area.
6. Assess your expenses when buying a home. Don’t forget the incidental costs of purchasing a home. Some communities include homeowners fees. You’ll also want to consider the cost to maintain your home. For example, moving from a home with no pool to a new home with one will increase your water, heat and maintenance costs. Property taxes are high and should always be included in your monthly expense.
7. Prepare to bring some cash to the table. You will need a considerable amount of money to purchase a home. The typical down payment is 20% of the purchase price. Then there are the closing costs that can be about 7% of the home price.
8. Find a good Realtor®. Finding a good Realtor® is wise for a number of reasons. A Realtor who is familiar with the area and the communities within the area can consult with you on finding the right community for you. A strong knowledge of real estate laws and practices can help you through the complete buying experience from applying for a mortgage to the closing. Lastly, a Realtor® with strong negotiation skills are critical when purchasing or selling a home. You will want a Realtor® who can best represent you when negotiating the purchase of a home.