Pamela McArdle's Blog
Buying a condo may seem like an uphill climb, particularly for those who are browsing the real estate market for the first time. Lucky for you, we're here to help you take the guesswork out of finding the right condo.
What does it take to locate a high-quality condo at an affordable price? Here are three tips that every first-time condo buyer needs to know.
1. Explore a Wide Range of Condos
The real estate market is filled with many first-rate condos, and the sheer volume of properties that are available may feel overwhelming at times. Therefore, you should allocate the necessary time and resources to find a condo that suits you perfectly.
Don't be afraid to check out several condos over the course of a few days or weeks. By doing so, you can better understand what you'd like to find in the ideal condo.
Of course, if you fall in love with a condo, you should be ready to submit an offer. That way, you can avoid the risk of missing out on a great condo that matches or exceeds your expectations.
2. Determine How You'll Pay for a Condo
Many property buyers get pre-approved for a mortgage, and for good reason. With a mortgage in hand, you'll know exactly what you can afford as you review the real estate market.
Meet with a variety of banks and credit unions. These lenders will be able to provide you with multiple mortgage options and respond to your financing concerns and queries.
Also, keep in mind that the price of a condo may extend beyond your monthly mortgage payments.
In many instances, condo communities have homeowners' associations (HOAs) in place that will charge monthly fees. Learn about any HOA fees in advance, and you'll know exactly what you'll need to pay each month to live in a particular condo community.
3. Work with a Real Estate Agent
No one should be forced to evaluate condos on their own. Fortunately, you can hire a real estate agent to streamline the process of finding a terrific condo.
A real estate agent with condo experience understands the hurdles that may arise during a condo search. As such, he or she will do whatever it takes to ensure you can get the best results possible as you look for the perfect condo.
For instance, a real estate agent will set up condo showings and keep you up to date about open houses. This real estate professional will even negotiate with a condo seller on your behalf, which means you won't have to worry about breaking your budget to purchase a stellar condo.
Employing a real estate agent enables you to get expert advice at each stage of the condo buying process too. Thus, you can receive instant responses to your condo buying questions at any time.
Simplify the process of buying your first condo – use the aforementioned tips, and you can boost your chances of acquiring a superb condo at a budget-friendly price.
The homebuying journey is rarely problem-free. Fortunately, homebuyers who know how to address challenges throughout the property buying journey should have no trouble making their homeownership dreams come true.
Now, let's take a look at three tips to help you develop an effective approach to address any homebuying challenges that come your way.
1. Be Diligent
When it comes to homebuying challenges, it helps to be diligent. A diligent homebuyer allocates time and resources to understand problems and address them from every angle. As such, this buyer may be better equipped than others to find the right solution to any homebuying challenge, at any time.
Furthermore, a diligent homebuyer often learns about the housing market and analyzes real estate market patterns and trends. With this information at his or her disposal, a homebuyer can use real estate market data to gain an advantage over rival property buyers. And as a result, a diligent homebuyer can use housing market data to make fast, informed decisions throughout the property buying journey.
2. Understand the Worst-Case Scenarios
No one likes to think about the worst-case scenarios. Yet considering potential challenges that could arise during the homebuying cycle may help a property buyer plan ahead for these problems.
As a homebuyer, it is important to prepare as much as possible for all stages of the property buying journey. If a buyer understands potential challenges, he or she may be able to address such problems without delay. Perhaps best of all, this buyer can minimize the risk of encountering possible hurdles that otherwise may prevent him or her from finding the right house at the right price.
3. Work with a Real Estate Agent
Dealing with a homebuying challenge on your own can cause immense stress. Lucky for you, real estate agents are available who can help you identify and resolve any homebuying challenges before they escalate.
A real estate agent is a homebuying expert who can guide you along each stage of the property buying journey. First, he or she will learn about your homebuying goals and craft a custom property buying strategy. A real estate agent next will keep you up to date about new homes that match your property buying criteria, as well as set up home showings. And once you find a house that you want to buy, a real estate agent will help you submit a competitive offer to purchase this residence.
Let's not forget about the assistance that a real estate agent provides after a seller accepts your offer to purchase a home, either. At this point, a real estate agent will help you schedule a house inspection and ensure that you are fully prepared for closing day. And if you have concerns or questions along the way, a real estate agent is ready to respond to them.
Want to become a confident homebuyer? Use the aforementioned tips, and you can bolster your homebuying confidence and address any homebuying challenges with poise and integrity.
The perfect home is not the only thing you'll need to shop for when you want to become a homeowner. In order to get the best terms, the lowest monthly payment and a reasonable interest rate, start doing some homework now -- before you even attend your first open house.
1. Check Your Credit Score
Checking your credit score should be the first thing you do when you're considering the purchase of a home. Why? Because every lender you speak to will use it as a benchmark for determining the likelihood of you being able to pay off the debt. The better your credit score, the more favorable terms and interest rates a lender might offer you. The earlier you know your credit score, the more time you have to address any issues that might be contained in it. Remember, you're entitled to one free credit report from each of the three reporting agencies each year. Take advantage of this service and keep tabs on your credit score.
2. Have Steady Employment
Being able to demonstrate that you are gainfully employed will go a long way toward qualifying for a mortgage loan and being offered attractive interest rates. Aim for at least two years of unbroken employment. Be ready to back up your claims regarding the duration of your employment and the dollar amounts you bring home.
3. Offer a Sizable Down Payment
Come to the negotiating table with a lender and with a solid down payment, you'll be able to enjoy lower monthly payments. There's no fast rule regarding the amount of a down payment. That being said, most lenders like you to have at least 20 percent of the home's purchase price as the down payment. There are some lenders, however, who accept less than 20 percent. If your lender accepts down payments that are less than the standard 20 percent, expect to have to purchase private mortgage insurance. This can be anywhere from .05 percent to 1 percent.
4. Know Your Debt To Income Ratio
The debt to income ratio demonstrates your ability to pay off the mortgage as agreed upon. Most lenders like to see that your monthly debt payments are equal to or less than 43 percent of your gross monthly income.
In a seller's market, there might be several people vying for the same home. Addressing the items above can make you look more attractive compared to some of the other potential home buyers.
Buying a house is a life-changing decision. As such, you should perform extensive home evaluations before you make your final purchase decision.
There are many questions to consider as you review houses, and these questions include:
1. Does a home match my expectations?
Entering the housing market with homebuying criteria usually is a good idea. If you know what you want to find in your dream house, you can tailor your home search accordingly. As a result, you can speed up the homebuying journey.
When it comes to establishing homebuying criteria, it helps to consider your short- and long-term goals. For example, if you want a house that is close to your current office in the city, you can search for residences in towns and cities near your workplace. Or, if you are willing to upgrade a house on your own, you may want to focus on "fixer-upper" properties.
2. Can I afford a house?
Home prices vary based on many factors. Fortunately, if you create a homebuying budget, you can narrow your house search and review properties that fall within your price range.
Oftentimes, it helps to get pre-approved for a mortgage. Banks and credit unions are happy to provide you with a wide assortment of mortgage options. Once you assess the different types of mortgages, you can choose one that will ensure you can acquire your dream home in no time at all.
3. Will a home require in-depth repairs in the near future?
How a home looks today may not match how this residence looks in the years to come. As you evaluate residences, it may be beneficial to consider potential repairs.
For instance, if a house likely will require a new roof in the next few years, you may need to budget for this expense. Conversely, if a home is brand new or recently has been upgraded, you may be able to avoid costly, time-consuming repairs in the foreseeable future.
If you want to streamline your home search, you can hire a real estate agent too. In fact, if you employ a real estate agent, you can receive comprehensive support throughout the homebuying journey.
A real estate agent has a simple goal: to help you find a great house at a budget-friendly price. To accomplish this goal, a real estate agent will learn about you and your homebuying criteria and craft a personalized homebuying strategy. Plus, a real estate agent will set up home showings, offer expert homebuying recommendations and help you submit an offer to purchase your dream residence. And if you have homebuying concerns or questions, a real estate agent is available to respond to them at your convenience.
Lastly, be careful as you evaluate available homes in your preferred cities and towns. Keep in mind that no house is perfect, and any residence you buy may increase or decrease in value over time. And if you find a home that you want to buy, prepare a competitive offer, and you can boost the likelihood of receiving an instant "Yes" from a property seller.
Purchasing a home should be fun, memorable process. However, many homebuyers struggle with fears as they embark on the process of acquiring their dream homes.
Some of the most common homebuying fears include:
1. I will pay too much for a house.
Overspending on a house is a common fear among homebuyers nationwide.
If you pay too much for a house, you may struggle to afford the monthly payments for the duration of your mortgage. Perhaps even worse, your house may lose value over time. And if you eventually decide to sell your home, you may be forced to accept less than what you initially paid for it.
Ultimately, an informed homebuyer will understand the differences between a buyer's market and a seller's one. He or she will be able to determine whether a home is affordably priced and proceed accordingly.
An informed homebuyer also will know the importance of getting pre-approved for a mortgage. With a mortgage in hand, this homebuyer will understand exactly how much that he or she can spend on a house.
2. I'll wait too long to submit an offer on a residence.
If a homebuyer is uncertain about buying a particular house and waits too long to submit an offer, he or she risks missing out on this residence altogether.
Fortunately, there is a simple way to avoid this problem.
A homebuyer who knows what he or she wants to find in a dream home can narrow a home search. Then, if the homebuyer discovers a home that matches or exceeds his or her expectations, this individual can submit an offer right away.
Don't forget to submit a competitive offer, i.e. one that accounts for the needs of both a homebuyer and home seller, as well. A competitive offer will stand out from other proposals and increase a property buyer's chances of securing his or her dream residence.
3. I'll buy a home that will fail to maintain its long-term value.
What you pay for a home today is unlikely to remain the same over the course of several weeks, months or years. But a homebuyer who employs an expert home inspector can learn about a house's strengths and weaknesses and ensure a property is a viable long-term investment.
A home inspector will conduct an assessment of a house after a property seller accepts a buyer's proposal. At this point, an inspector will examine a house's interior and exterior and identify any potential issues. Lastly, a home inspector will issue a report with his or her findings, and a homebuyer will have a final opportunity to modify or rescind an offer on a house.
For homebuyers, it is important to work with a trusted home inspector – you'll be glad you did. This home inspector will go above and beyond the call of duty to evaluate a house before you finalize a home purchase.
Working with an experienced real estate agent may benefit a homebuyer too. With a top-notch real estate agent at your side, you can get the support you need to acquire a first-rate home that will maintain its value both now and in the future.