Tips on how to be a successful homebuyer
Buying your first home is a once-in-a-lifetime experience—it’s thrilling, challenging and immensely rewarding. However, in a crowded and competitive housing market it might feel like there are a lot of hoops to jump through before you can make your homebuying dream come true.
But never fear! We’re here to help, by offering our top tips on how to be a successful first-time homebuyer.
Buying a home is a huge investment, so to prepare you’ll want to practice good financial habits (if you’re not already) to get ready for this life-changing purchase. Even though it’s not necessary anymore to put down a 20% down payment in order to buy a home, every bit you can put towards the down payment is a huge help. You might want to look for where in your budget you can spend less and save more, like eating out less at lunch or ditching those expensive coffee drinks. You can also make great strides by automating your savings. Even if it’s a small amount, create a recurring transfer into a savings account dedicated to your new home purchase, scheduled for a couple days after you typically cash your paycheck.
Make sure your finances look presentable
Make sure to do everything you can to prepare your personal finances for homeownership. You should educate yourself or work with a professional to understand how your financial habits can impact your credit. You can look into your credit to make sure there are no mistakes or unpaid debts that might negatively affect your financing options, and can receive full credit report once a year at AnnualCreditReport.com. You can also order credit reports from the three major credit bureaus for a small fee.*
Be watchful, and ready to move quick
Once you’ve done your pre-search homework like determining what neighborhoods you’d like to live in, your price range and your dream home ‘wish list and deal-breakers,’ it’s time to start the hunt. Know that things can move pretty quickly in a tight housing market, so when a home that meets your criteria pops up, you’ll want to move quick. Try to keep your schedule open so you can attend any last-minute open houses you discover online or hear about through your real estate agent. If you find a place that checks all your boxes, be sure to get background information like property reports and disclosures, as well as find out when offers are due so you don’t miss your deadline.
Create a personalized letter
In a tight housing market, sellers are going to receive plenty of qualified offers. One way to help stand out is to include a personalized letter, from you to owner of the property. Write it yourself, and feel free to make it personal, explaining a little about who you are and your family. Homeowners, especially if they’ve been in their property for a while, want to make sure their soon-to-be-former home will be in good hands, so perhaps paint a picture of your hopes and dreams for your family in the home. And be sure to thank them for taking the time to read. You can create search feeds and customize them to monitor open listings in your dream neighborhood.
Make an offer that stands out
When it comes to best properties, you can often expect strong competition from multiple buyers. When you’re ready to make an offer, having a pre-approval letter from a reputable lender shows buyers that you mean business. With Guaranteed Rate’s industry-leading tech and automated underwriting, homebuyers can complete the Digital Mortgage. You’ll also want to include proof of funds for your down payment, as well as that personalized letter. And if you do get involved in a bidding war with other buyers, consider the amount listed on your pre-approval letter as your maximum, and work within those limits.
*Guaranteed Rate does not provide credit repair or credit counseling services.