Whether you are a first time home buyer, or it’s been awhile since your last home purchase, one of the most frequently asked questions a REALTOR® gets is, “Where do I begin?” While it seems that the first place to begin a home search is an internet home search site, you may want to do a little more than perusing pictures of homes before you fall head over heels with the home of your dreams.
First Things First: Choose a REALTOR®
Once you have the idea in your head that now is the time to buy a home, you will need to choose a REALTOR®. The right RE ALTOR® for you will get to know you, your wants, and your needs. They will be able to make suggestions about neighborhoods and homes that fit your criteria and lifestyle, while complimenting your personality. They should be able to walk you through the nuances of home buying and while making themselves available for anything that comes up during the process.
Your Next Step: Talking With a Mortgage Lender
The very first thing your REALTOR® may suggest is to talk with a mortgage lender. This will give both you and your REALTOR® the insight into whether you are financially ready for a home loan, if your credit going to hinder the loan process, and how much of a loan you qualify for. All of these questions MUST be answered before proceeding with the purchase. If conditions are favorable for you to get a loan, a pre-approval letter from the lender is the next step. This pre-approval letter states the amount the lender thinks you’ll be able to borrow based on your income and credit profile. It also tells the owner of the home you put on offer on that you are serious about buying and that you have been pre-approved to buy in that price range.
While You’re At It: Do Some Research
While choosing your REALTOR® and speaking with a lender, start doing some research on the areas of town in which you may be interested. Boerne or Stone Oak? Southtown or Alamo Heights? While most buyers have an idea of where they want to live, there is a possibility that they may have to change the location they are looking in due to a low housing stock in that area or the area being too high of a price point. If you aren’t sure where you should live, start by asking the following questions: What does the commute to work look like? How close is shopping, dining, entertainment, churches, and schools? How comfortable do you feel in the neighborhood? What is the quality of the schools your children will be going to? Answering these questions and then prioritizing what is most important will help narrow down an area that will match your needs and wants.
Getting these three first steps to home buying out of the way will ensure that your house hunt starts off on the right foot. And remember, if you aren’t sure what to do next, consulting a REALTOR® is ALWAYS a good idea!