Finding the right home may seem daunting, especially moving into a new neighborhood.
Based on the many inquiries we receive daily, we put together the following recommendations to help you avoid potential pitfalls and prepare you to successfully find your dream home.
1.) Get pre-approved before looking at homes
This is by far the most important recommendations we can make, unless you have enough money for an all cash purchase.
Buyers often argue: “I just want to see the house. If I like it then I’ll talk to a lender to get the loan.” This approach can have a detrimental counter effect. The buyer eventually finds their dream home and falls in love with it. Then talking with a lender the buyer learns they can’t afford it. 🙁 From here on every house within the ‘doable’ price range will pale compared to the house they fell in love with. Don’t set yourself up for this kind of a let-down!
Get pre-approved or at least pre-qualified before you start looking at homes.
A pre-qualification includes a preliminary review of your income history, available cash down payment and your liabilities, aka debt obligations, e.g. credit cards and other loans.
A pre-approval includes the additional step of checking your credit score, a crucial component to determine how much a lender would be willing to lend you.
Either process only takes a few minutes and can be done efficiently over the phone.
2.) Get your finances together
If the pre-approval reveals a glitch on your credit report, get it corrected immediately before you fall in love with your dream home. Get all your financial records organized and current, including tax returns, pay stubs, W-2 or 1099 forms, bank statements, loan statements, etc. Your lender will need these to approve your mortgage loan. Get them ready before you apply for the loan.
3.) Research the neighborhoods
Buying a house is a big commitment and needs to be well thought through, especially if you are moving into a new area. Explore and evaluate the pros and cons of each neighborhood you are considering. Practice your future commute during key times of the day. Research why neighborhoods are valued differently. Lots of information is available online, but sometimes it is best to first rent for a few months to experience the neighborhood feel.
4.) Prioritize – Your Needs vs Wants
Create a written list with all home features you ‘Need’, versus features you ‘Want’, or features that are just ‘Nice to Have’. Know the difference and organize your list in the order of importance.
Prioritize and be clear on how the most important ‘top of the list’ items are defined in regard to the following criteria: type of property (house, townhouse or condo), location / neighborhood, price, size, views, parking, pool, etc. Be realistic with your expectations.
5.) Set up email alerts, be decisive and quick
There has never been a better time to find your dream home this efficiently. Information is readily available with modern tools and technology. You have the power to customize and automate your home search and get instant results! Select your search filters wisely and set up email alerts. It’s free and works as fast as the speed of light (search filter & email alert example, using our Honolulu single-family homes page).
Dozens of potential buyers might be receiving live property listing updates, possibly looking at the same home you have been looking at. When ready, be quick and decisive. If a property matches some of the top requirements on your ‘Need’ list, contact your favorite qualified realtor to schedule a showing right away.
If you followed the above steps, you are well prepared to strike. Don’t let your dream home slip by thinking it might wait for you. Not every property sells quickly, but the best ones often do.
Let us know what you think. We like to hear from you.
Please ‘Like’, ‘Share’ and ‘Comment’ below. ~Aloha