Greenville Is This the Year to Make It Happen? Buy a New Home in 2021!
If you’ve been thinking about becoming a homeowner or ready to move up to a larger home, this year could be your year!
Mortgage rates are historically low – so buying a home is even more affordable than ever. Plus, the housing market in many neighborhoods is thriving, with properties being sold and buyers moving into the home they’ve always dreamed about.
This could be you and your family settling into a new home!!
But it doesn’t happen overnight, so you’ll need to start planning and preparing so you’ll be ready and willing to put in an offer with confidence when the time comes.
Your First Steps to Homeownership
If you’re a first-time buyer, you do need to become educated about purchasing a home BEFORE you start looking. There is definitely a learning curve that everyone needs to go through in the beginning.
And if it’s your second or third time around, you’ll also need to tackle many of the same steps as a buyer. (And don’t hesitate to reach out to me so we can discuss tactics for buying and selling at the same time!)
Here are some key steps you should start working on now. And always remember, I can go over the entire mortgage and buying process with you at any time so you’ll understand each step along the way.
Learn about current mortgage loan options. I can recommend reputable brokers you can meet with to gather information. Find out what’s available now and even the outlook in the coming year. Rates are low now, but will they start to rise? Get a better sense of what type of financing will be best for you. There are so many loan options out there, and now is the time to see what is available.
And if you’re a first-time buyer, don’t be afraid to ask questions about how mortgage rates work and the differences between loan programs. Plus, take advantage of real estate news sites, featured columns, or other media that can broaden your knowledge of the buying process.
Visit open houses to scope out the local market. Check out cert
ain neighborhoods or homes (even virtually) in terms of cost and features as an “educational” step. This will help you narrow down a location and features that are important to you. That way, you’ll be more efficient when you actually house hunt and are ready to buy. With condos, you’ll also get an idea of monthly HOA fees and amenities in different buildings.
Find out about assistance programs for buyers. Did you know that there are government assistance programs that can make buying a home much more affordable? You’ll be amazed to see what is available for mid-income buyers, first-time buyers, veterans, city or state employees, etc. Programs from local housing authorities can help with a down payment or low-interest loans, and many buyers can qualify for this assistance.
Check out the “Dirty Little Secrets to Buying a Home” series. (Coming Soon) You’ll get little-known tips and strategies that you can’t get anywhere else. The eight articles in this series will uncover “the why’s, the how’s, and the “must-do’s” of home buying. It’s a good overview of things you should think about and consider before you begin a serious search for a home.
Get Your Finances Ready
Buying a home is probably THE biggest expense you will ever have in your life. You want to be a responsible buyer and homeowner, so now is the time to focus on your finances.
When you’re ready to buy, you’ll meet with a lender to get pre-approved (not pre-qualified) so that you’ll know the amount they are willing to loan you. But first things first, make sure you’re all set for a lender to review your finances, so start prepping for that now.
Strengthen your credit score and build credit history. Your FICO credit score is your gateway to a good mortgage since lenders use it to determine your risk as a borrower. So the higher your score, the better your loan options. And, if you’re a couple, then BOTH of you will need to work on your credit!
Right now, lenders are looking at a score in the higher 700s for most loan products. Some government loans, such as FHA loans, will consider lower scores.
It can take 6 months or more to improve your score, so start today. Pay your bills on time, don’t take on any large debt, and double-check your score for inaccuracies.
Know what monthly mortgage payment you can afford. What a lender says you CAN afford can be very different in what you are willing to spend each month. Determine what the monthly payment should be. No one wants to be stretched too much and become “house poor”.
Save for a down payment. Cut expenses and save, save, save right now! No matter if you get a 3% down loan or a conventional 20% down loan, lenders still want to see if you have enough cash reserves in the bank. Remember, owning a home isn’t only its purchase price, but it includes other costs such as taxes, insurance, maintenance, and possible HOA fees. With a larger savings account, a lender knows you’re financially responsible and less of a risk.
Revisit your lease agreement. If you’re a renter, take a look at your lease to see when it comes up for renewal. Find out if you’ll be hit with any penalties if you terminate it early. Maybe you can time buying a home so that it comes close to that date. Or, give yourself a goal and use that date as an inspiration (or deadline) to get things in order so you can buy a home then!
As you can see, start planning now if you want to buy a home this year. You’ll be a more informed buyer and ready to finance and purchase your home with less stress.
I’m here to help you make it possible! Contact me today, and we can set up a session to discuss your homeownership goals.
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I'm Diane Blackwell, and if you've been thinking about buying your next home and are just not sure of the steps involved to buy and sell at the same time, or even where to start, then I'm here to help. I can help you save thousands of dollars when you buy and sell. Say goodbye to overwhelm and hello to your dream home.
200 Mills Ave, Greenville, SC 29605
"Move-Up" Buyer program
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