Welcome back to my column everyone! Last month we talked about preparing your home for market, so this month I would like to discuss how to locate, identify and purchase your new home.
Before you start looking at properties there are four main questions to consider. First, what is the purpose of this new property? Will it be your primary residence, a second home, or perhaps an investment property with income potential? Second question, what is on the list of your “wants” and “needs” for the property? Are you looking for a turnkey property that has all of your “needs” in place or are you looking for a property that has the right bones so that you can make it your perfect home. Question three, what is your ideal location? This will likely be driven by your purpose in that if the home will be your primary home, will it need to be within a comfortable commuting range, or perhaps within a desirable school district. For a second home, it may be proximity to a beach or other recreational locations. The fourth question is of course, what is your budget range? How much are you willing to pay for this property? Money is very inexpensive to borrow right now, for example a 15-year conventional loan is currently wavering around 2.5%. Would borrowing the funds be a good idea rather than using yours? That would be a question for your financial planner. Speak to them and together you can figure out question number 4 and the best way to organize the financing.
Once you have answers to these four questions, you and your Realtor can start the process of searching, or as I like to call it, “matchmaking”. With a broad list of what you are looking for, your Realtor can send over the current listings and also set up an on-going search for you so that as new listings that match your criteria are listed, prices adjust or properties sell, you will be immediately notified. This will keep you current on the market you are interested in and help you build your understanding of it. When you are ready, your Realtor will take you to tour the homes that interest you and give you the opportunity to spend time looking. I call this “dating” – you are looking at homes to see if they fit! Over time, you will develop a clearer picture of what you are looking for, and it may be that the home you find will need some renovations or updates. Your Realtor will be able to recommend contractors to look at the home with you and give you estimates on the work that you have in mind. You will need this information to go along with your budget.
Once you fall in love with your new property that will be the moment when you write an offer, and should it be accepted then you become “engaged”. At this point the inspections are scheduled and a licensed professional takes an in-depth look at the home and prepares a comprehensive report on the items that need attention. From here you and your Realtor will put together a repair request which will be submitted to the sellers for consideration. If all goes well, and the sellers agree to make the repairs, and the home appraises, then you will move forward towards the closing. The closing is what I believe to be the “marriage” because you are making a long-term commitment to the home, knowing its faults and irregularities while still loving it! At the closing you will get the keys, which is the equivalent to the wedding rings, and hopefully you ride off into the sunset of homeownership with dreams of spending a lot of time together in beautiful new surroundings.
Of course, this is just a brief outline of the many steps that are involved in locating and purchasing your new home. There are many other pieces that fit into the puzzle and I will address those potential issues in a later article. However, if you have questions on any real estate topic that I have not covered, or on topics for future articles, please feel free to reach out to me – I am always happy to help and my contact information is below.
Thank you for taking the time to read my column, I am really enjoying writing for you!