Things you can do NOW to buy a home in 2023
Waiting until spring before getting serious about your home search? Why waste valuable time when there are plenty of things you can be doing to get ahead of the curve! I hear buyers say they are simply waiting until the spring to get serious about their home search for a variety of reason. Some are hoping there will be more listings to shop through. Others think they might get a better deal in the new year.
And honestly…a lot of other buyers have that very same idea! Every year, we see an influx of buyers who paused their search in the winter only to pick it back up in the spring - at the same time as everybody else. What this effectively means is there will be a lot more buyers shopping for the same inventory that you are at the same exact time, and buyer competition will drastically increase. My first piece of advice would be to NOT wait until spring, if possible for you. Why would you put your buying power at a disadvantage when there are fewer buyers actively looking right now, and you might be able to find a great deal on a home you love before you’re competing with the masses?
Regardless, if you ARE stuck on waiting until the spring to buy a home, my next piece of advice would be to at least give yourself an advantage by taking the time NOW to get ahead. You can be using this time to educate yourself on all the steps of the buying process so you don’t need to waste a single minute when you’re ready to buy! There are plenty of actions that you can take to prepare yourself to buy a home when you are ready. Here are five things I recommend doing NOW to set yourself up for a smooth home purchase this spring:
- Find Your Real Estate Agent
Buying a home is a significant purchase and the relationship with your agent is an important part of the process. Working with an agent you not only trust but enjoy working with can drastically change your experience. From personality, to priorities, to communication style - every person has different preferences, and not every agent will be the right match for you. Use your time now to not only research agents in your area but meet with them to find someone who will be a great match for your needs.
- Start Researching Neighborhoods
Shopping for houses is very fun, and of course, a crucial component of buying a home. But I see far fewer buyers who take the time to research specific neighbors as in depth. Everything from local shops, schools, hiking trails, and commute will impact your day to day life once you are living in the home. Use some of your free time to start shopping for neighborhoods you connect with to ensure you end up in a community that’s a great match for you, long term. You can take a drive through the neighborhood, stroll through its parks, make a point to have your next lunch at a local restaurant or do your grocery shopping in that specific area to picture what living there might feel like in the future.
- Shop For a Lender
Did you know that there are several different options when it comes to home loans? When its comes to working with a lender, it should not be a “one and done” approach. I always recommend my clients meet with at least 2 different lenders to make sure they are finding the best possible loan for their needs. Especially if this is your first time securing a home loan, I highly recommend speaking with your agent to learn more.
- Finalize Your Budget
Whether you are paying with cash or securing a loan, it’s important to have absolute clarity of your budget before you even start shopping. You will want to know not only your overall budget (which will impact what neighborhoods you are shopping and at what price range) but also what you can afford for a down payment (which will be necessary to know before you make an offer). Not understanding your budget thoroughly can waste valuable time and may negatively impact your home buying experience.
- Understand Offer Process
Once you’ve found a home you love, the next steps of the buying process are somewhat complex and may move quickly depending on how fast you need to make your offer to secure the home. Take the time now to fully understand what goes into writing a competitive offer, the offer making process, what details are needed from your end on the purchase agreement, and what happens during escrow. The more you know now, the smoother things will feel for you when it’s happening in real time.
Of course, the buying process is much more personalized per person, and necessary preparations can be different for every buyer based on a variety of factors. If you would like a more personalized strategy on ways you can be preparing of your next move, please reach out to me directly! I’d love to help.