Prepared buyers get the keys to their dream home
This week the National Association of Realtors and others reported it is taking longer for buyers to close on a house than it did a year ago. Some houses are selling like hot cakes and the real estate market is considered generally pretty strong. So why is it taking so long for some people to buy a house? Quick answer: There are aren’t enough homes on the market to meet everyone’s needs and not all buyers are prepared to compete for the houses they do want.
By the Numbers
Specifically in the Bowling Green area, the demand for homes at or around the $200,000 range is high. And buyers looking for homes upwards to $275,000+ range can also be effected by the low inventory depending on their needs. It’s important to mention “low inventory” does not mean there aren’t great homes on the market in Bowling Green. There most definitely are! There just aren’t enough of them to meet the demand of everyone who is looking for one right now.
And if you don’t want to lock in on a new home before you sell your current home – and quite a few buyers would love to do it that way – you may find yourself in a waiting game that can be very frustrating.
As always, the market is changing. Local developers and builders are getting busy. In fact, there are several developments for new construction homes underway in quite a few areas across Bowling Green that will make more homes available as the new year progresses. Granted, not everyone is looking for new construction. But many buyers are, which in turn will open up new options for both buyers and sellers of existing homes throughout the market.
Buyers Get Ready!
The question is will you be ready to buy your new home when you find the house that’s right for you? Unfortunately, many buyers are simply not prepared to buy when they do find the home of their dreams. Why? Because they aren’t sure what they can afford or they do but can’t get pre-approved fast enough to make a competitive offer. Make no mistake: Being pre-approved and knowing exactly what you can afford – and being able to show it when making an offer – can be a deal breaker right now. Literally.
Other big challenges facing buyers today will not surprise you: It’s difficult to save for a down payment, debt and student loans are a growing challenge for so many right now and credit scores may be lower than they need to be. All have direct impact on a buyer’s ability to get a good interest rate for a mortgage they can realistically manage.
The good news though is that there are actually more options to help buyers overcome these challenges than you might think. But you can’t begin to overcome those challenges if you have no idea what they are and what’s standing in the way of you and your new home.
That is why I encourage all my clients to take the time to figure out what you want and develop a plan to get it. I provide a copy of the National Association of Realtors’ 10 Ways to Prepare for Home Ownership on my website and to all my clients. No matter where you are in your journey, you need this list.
And more good news! Many of the tools you need to work through this list are available to you on my website: Mortgage Calculator, Property Search and Buyers Articles just to name a few. They are all free and there when you need them. So by all means please pick a time and start looking around and plugging in numbers and info. You will be amazed how much and how quickly you can learn about your needs and the market you are in simply by doing this!
But the most prepared and competitive buyers will complete #10 on the list first! Why? Because having a great Realtor® leading your effort will bring other important information and guidance to you. It will also help bring all that information into focus so it is not so overwhelming. I use this list with clients to sit down and find out where they are in the process, help them set realistic goals and timelines and then work through each step until they meet their goal. That may take 3 days, 3 weeks, 3 months or even 3 years, which is fine with me. I’m dedicated to getting them there at a pace that will meet their needs. And I also know and partner with other patient and dedicated professionals they will need along the way.
Buying a home is a pretty big deal. It can be incredibly rewarding on so many levels and completely change your life. So invest in yourself and take (make!) the time to get prepared and focused so you can seriously compete for that beautiful house you want when you find it. I know you can do it – and you and those you love are worth it!
So take a look and share the list below with the people who love you and will help you meet your goal to buy a home. And remember! You likely have more options than you realize to get your hands on those keys. I’m one of them, so visit me at https://sckyrealestate.com or firstname.lastname@example.org to get started!
*10 Ways to Prepare for Home Ownership
- Decide what you can afford. Generally, you can afford a home equal in value to between two and three times your gross income.
- Develop your home wish list. Then, prioritize the features on your list.
- Select where you want to live. Compile a list of three or four neighborhoods you’d like to live in, taking into account items such as schools, recreational facilities, area expansion plans, and safety.
- Start saving. Do you have enough money saved to qualify for a mortgage and cover your down payment? Ideally, you should have 20 percent of the purchase price saved as a down payment. Also, don’t forget to factor in closing costs. Closing costs — including taxes, attorney’s fee, and transfer fees — average between 2 and 7 percent of the home price.
- Get your credit in order. Obtain a copy of your credit report to make sure it is accurate and to correct any errors immediately. A credit report provides a history of your credit, bad debts, and any late payments.
- Determine your mortgage qualifications. How large of mortgage do you qualify for? Also, explore different loan options — such as 30-year or 15-year fixed mortgages or ARMs — and decide what’s best for you.
- Get preapproved. Organize all the documentation a lender will need to preapprove you for a loan. You might need W-2 forms, copies of at least one pay stub, account numbers, and copies of two to four months of bank or credit union statements.
- Weigh other sources of help with a down payment. Do you qualify for any special mortgage or down payment assistance programs? Check with your state and local government on down payment assistance programs for firsttime buyers. Or, if you have an IRA account, you can use the money you’ve saved to buy your fist home without paying a penalty for early withdrawal.
- Calculate the costs of homeownership. This should include property taxes, insurance, maintenance and utilities, and association fees, if applicable.
- Contact a REALTOR®. Find an experienced REALTOR® who can help guide you through the process.
*10 Ways to Prepare for Home Ownership reprinted from REALTOR® magazine (REALTOR.org/realtormag) with permission of the NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS®. Copyright 2008. All rights reserved.