Top Tips for Buying a Home
The housing market is changing all the time, and if you’re on the hunt for a home, you need to stay aware of the latest trends—and how they’ll hit you where you live and want to be.
Start your search early. The No. 1 tip that our team came up with, is to kick off your home search early. If you’re intending to purchase, based on the volume of house hunters who are just like you, consider doing it sooner rather than later—you’re likely to get a better price and a better mortgage rate; pointing out that there’s far more inventory available relative to the number of sales in the off-peak months. More than 85% of buyers who plan to purchase in the next year intend to buy in the spring or summer of the year. With roughly 50% more listings inventory relative to the number of potential home sales expected in January and February, buyers who start their search early face less competition with nearly the same number of homes.
Get your finances in order. Start by getting a full picture of your credit. Obtain copies of your credit report. Make sure the facts are correct, and fix any problems you find. Next, find a suitable lender and get pre-approved for a loan. This will put you in a better position to make a serious offer when you do find the right house. Don’t just assume that the 30-year fixed mortgage is the best for you. Mortgage rates are expected to reach 4.65% by the end of the year while prices are predicted to rise 3% year over year. A lower interest rate can make the difference in qualifying for a loan to buy a certain home—not to mention saving you thousands over the life of the loan. So make sure to shop around!
Hire a professional. While the Internet gives buyers unprecedented access to home listings and resources, many aspects of the buying process require a level of expertise you can’t pick up from surfing the web. That’s why you’re better off using a professional agent than going it alone. If possible, recruit an exclusive buyer agent, who will have your interests at heart and can help you with strategies during the bidding process.
Consider a new home. If there’s anything that can ease the current housing crunch, it’s new construction. But many people just rule out the option. Just keep an open mind. After all, the number of new homes on the market is expected to grow more rapidly in 2017, resulting in a 16% increase in new-home sales year over year. But the lack of awareness about new homes means you’re likely to encounter less competition.While new homes are typically more expensive, they also come with warranties on the structure and appliances—so you’re not likely to get stuck with any hefty repair bills for the first few years.
Do your homework. Before making a bid, do some research to determine the state of the market at large. Is it more favorable for sellers or buyers? Next, look at sales trends of similar homes in the area or neighborhood. Look at prices for the last few months. Come up with an asking price that’s competitive, but also realistic. Otherwise, you may end up ticking off your seller.
Think long term. Obviously, you shouldn’t buy unless you’re sure you’ll be staying put for at least a few years. Beyond that, you should buy in a neighborhood with good schools. Whether you have children or not, this will have an impact on your new home’s resale value down the line. When it comes to the house itself, you should hire your own home inspector, who can point out potential problems that could require costly repairs in the future.
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Whitney International Group
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