Many Americans are putting their home purchases on hold over the uncertainty about the housing market. While we don’t recommend trying to time the market, it’s certainly understandable that some folks are a bit trepid right now.
Even though you may not be actively looking at homes to purchase right now, there are things you can be doing so that if the opportunity arises you can jump right into the market. Let’s take a look at three of those.
1. Talk to a lender
Sure, we hear a lot about cash buyers but most need a mortgage to buy a home. Get the process started by calling or visiting a lender. Family and friends, colleagues and real estate agents are good go-to sources for names of trusted lenders.
Although the initial consultation is typically quick and involves some number crunching and a list of paperwork you may need to submit, you’ll hopefully find a lender who will take some time to walk you through the process. Check out “The Smart Way to Shop for a Mortgage Lender.”
Some lenders can also counsel you on improving (or maintaining) your credit score over the next couple of months until you’re ready to buy. If not, read up on the process at MyFico.com.
Requesting loan preapproval offers real benefits, including saving time by not wasting it looking at homes you can’t afford.
In addition, “Sellers are looking for pre-approved buyers. Many prefer to entertain offers only from pre-approved buyers,” according to the pros at Capital Bank Home Loans, and we agree.
Finding out where your finances stack up in home loans is always a good idea, so this is an important step.
Preapproval from a lender is imperative, especially if you are close to being ready to buy.
When you call or visit a lender, ask all your questions, regardless of how basic you may consider them. This includes:
- Current interest rates
- Is a government-backed loan or a traditional loan the best choice for you?
- Should you go with a fixed or adjustable-rate mortgage? If you don’t understand the difference between the two, ask.
- Which down payment assistance programs are available to you?
2. Talk to a real estate agent
Retaining a real estate agent to help you buy a home is never too early. We are happy to offer you counsel on what to do right now to make you market-ready should the occasion arise sooner than you’d thought.
Sitting down with us briefly may give you insight into the current market, expectations for the future market, and other real estate-related topics you may not have considered.
Then, be sure to regularly visit our social media platforms and blog. We post a lot of educational content that you may not find elsewhere.
Some questions you may need the answer to when we get together:
- Which banks or lenders are best for the homebuyer
- Can you set up your home search criteria on the website so that you can regularly search for homes for sale?
3. Internet search
Speaking of searching, the sooner you start, the more familiar you’ll become with the process.
Internet searches can help you narrow down your choice of neighborhoods, the prices there, and the types of homes.
Doing drive-throughs of neighborhoods will also help you narrow down the choices. Then, when the time is right, you will have several neighborhoods on which to focus and won’t waste your precious time on those you don’t like.
Three small steps with huge rewards when the time comes to buy your home.
Reach out if you’d like to set up a meeting. We love to talk about houses!