5 Tips for Starting Your Home Search

Everyone wants to time their home purchase “just right.” Ideally, the picture-perfect “buyer’s market”; plenty of well-­‐priced listings, low-interest rates, and a slow-moving real estate market where the buyer has plenty of -me to decide on an offer. The reality is that the current market is a fast-paced environment where the best homes move quickly, and serious homebuyers need to be prepared to act when they find the right home.

Fortunately, starting your home search the right way is easy by following these simple tips:

  1. Find a Lender and Get Pre-­‐Approved – Know what you can afford before you start your search. By getting a pre-­‐approval letter, you demonstrate to sellers that you are serious when you write your offer, and it proves you can afford the home.
  2. Research Neighborhoods – Each community will have its own personality and advantages; before you spend time looking at homes, choose the right area for your lifestyle and family needs.
  3. Pick the Right Home Style – Learn about the various home styles available in your community. Do you want a single story? Large yard? Do you like older homes or historic-­‐ style properties?
  4. Make a List of Must-Have and Like-­‐to-­‐Have – There is a difference! Make a list and be ready to compromise when appropriate by ranking the items.
  5. Take Notes – Often, a home buyer can see 6-7 homes in a single day; take notes and, if possible, take pictures so you can remember the things you like and don’t like about the homes you see once you get home.

In a fast-paced real estate market, spending some time preparing for your home search will

help you move quickly when you find the right home for you and your family.

Buying vs. Renting? What is Better For You?

Homeownership is the American Dream, right? Owning a place to call home, paint the walls purple if you like, that’s what everyone wants. Isn’t it? The reality is there are pros and cons to buying a house. Understanding them can help you make the best decision for your goals.

Pros for Buying

There are three main reasons to buy a home.

  1. Financial Advantages – A home is an asset that should appreciate over time, providing wealth-building opportunities.
  2. Pride of Ownership – As a homeowner, you control the environment in which you live. If you want those purple walls or granite countertop, you can do it.
  3. Roots – Regardless of whether you have children, there is a natural desire to be part of a community: to have a local coffee shop, dry cleaners, etc.

Cons for Buying

As with all things, there are considerations which mean this isn’t the right time to buy a home.

  1. Increased Monthly Costs – While not always the case, in most instances, your monthly mortgage will be larger than comparable rent.
  2. Freedom – A renter can move from one city or state to another quickly, allowing you to move when you need or want to.
  3. Upkeep – You are responsible for the repairs and maintenance of the property. Unexpected problems can become quite expensive if you are unprepared.

There are some excellent reasons to buy a home; before you decide that it’s time to buy, give some thought to your lifestyle and goals if they are in line with the advantages of homeownership, then time to go house hunting.