5 Tips To Prepare For Buying Your Next Home

1.  Hire a Realtor who is a local expert and has a trustworthy reputation.
This important step should not be overlooked.  Doing this early on will make you feel ready, willing & able to put your best foot forward when your dream home hits the market!   All too often I have had after the fact conversations with perplexed buyers, who wonder, where did things go wrong?  What Buyers fail to understand is that while the click of a ‘do you need an agent’ button might be a path to instant gratification, it neglects to fully vet the realtor as someone worthy of assisting with such a monumental decision.  Be a savvy buyer.  Take control of your experience.
2. Know where you stand financially.
Prior to starting your home search, you need to do a financial audit.  Know your income & expenses and what your comfort level is regarding payment amounts.  This all too important step also includes speaking to a lender and getting pre-approved for a home loan.  No house tours should happen prior to being pre-approved.  We have some great local options if you are unsure where to start.
3. Fix Financial Flaws & Building Savings
At the advice of your lender you may need to clean up your finances.  This is why we advise clients 6-12 months before they are ready to purchase to seek advice from a lender.  When adjustments do need to take place prior to a pre-approval being issued, having advanced notice is key to keeping with your timeline.  Adjustments could include paying down debt, opening a credit line or adding yourself to certain bills.  You will also want to continue saving for a down payment and/or closing costs.  Looking towards the counsel of a trusted loan officer is critical.
4. Distinguish your “Needs from “Wants”.
I like to pose this question to all my early on in the home search.  And at times it requires more reflection than anticipated to sort through what is a valid ‘Need’ and what is just a preference.  The earlier you can determine this, the more efficient your home search will become.  Examples of this would include property attributes, search location, price range, etc.
5.  Establish Your Long Term Plan
Change is part of life, so it goes without saying that nothing can be certain.  However, creating a plan helps guide your decisions as best as you’re able.  Deciding how long you intend to be in your home will set you up for a more successful purchase process and give your team better parameters for offering advice.
As we enter the start of the spring market, we hope these pointers will offer clarity, start you on your path to an enjoyable and successful home buying experience.

Leah Prahl
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