It is no secret that Spring is the most popular time to buy or sell a home. All those sellers who have been waiting for the cold and winter weather to pass are eager to get their home to the market. Likewise, many buyers who want to be established in their home by the summer and before a new school year are ready to start looking. This combination of supply and demand creates a frenzy of real estate activity. As a buyer, you need to start preparing now so you can act quickly if you see something you like. The Spring buying market is far from the only time to buy a home, but it can be one of the best. Here are four tips to help you prepare to buy a home in the Spring market.
Get Pre-Approved Now. In busy markets time is of the essence. Even if you don’t necessarily want to make offers next week you should find out now what you can do today. The first step in this process is reaching out to a local lender or mortgage broker to get preapproved. A simple evaluation of your credit report, income, employment and down payment will give you a pretty good idea of where you stand. You will know what price range you are qualified for but also what items are needed should your offer get accepted. In a multiple-offer situation sellers generally look see who can close quickest. A 30 day closing as opposed to 45 day may not seem like much but it could make all the difference. A discussion with a lender will let you know what you need to get a head start on the process.
Self-Assessment.There can be a big difference in number you are qualified for and the number you are comfortable with. Your prequalified monthly payment number is the top end you can go and still get approved. For many buyers it is tempting to max this out. However, before you get too far you need to make a personal budget on what a comfortable payment is for you. Additionally, you should make a list of exactly what you want out of the property. Start with specific towns and markets and then move on to property details. By knowing exactly what you want it is easier to find the perfect property.
Lean on Your Real Estate Agent. In a frenzied market you need to rely on a professional. Your real estate agent has access to real time property listings and information that the general public simply does not. They will help guide you through the process and provide important opinions and observations that will serve as helpful to you. By spending time discussing what you want and where you want it prior to home shopping, you will avoid wasting time on properties you don’t really want. From there, let your real estate agent do their job and follow their lead.
Don’t Settle. The Spring market can be a great time to buy, but it isn’t the only time property will be available. As much as you may want to be in a home by the summer you can’t force the issue. There is a good chance you will be in your property for years, if not decades to come. You never want to rush into a property you don’t love just to fit an unofficial deadline. You are always better off waiting a couple weeks, even months, finding a property you are ecstatic about rather than rushing into a home with only lukewarm feelings.
The weather is starting to change, and Spring is right around the corner. Will you be ready to buy a home this Spring?