When Is a Good Time to Buy a Home?
I’m asked this question frequently. My standard answer is “when you can afford to do it and you can qualify for financing.”
If you have concerns about your employment security or you think you won’t be in the area for long, perhaps delaying is prudent. If the real estate market is such that property values are declining, maybe waiting is a good idea…but that is rarely the case. Otherwise, it’s a great time to buy!
There are obstacles (real or perceived) that keep people from buying a home. Potential buyers will often say they want to save more money so they have a larger downpayment. The current interest rates are very low. Even if they go up some, they’ll still be great in the grand scheme of things. Consider that if the rates increase to where they were only last fall, you would have to put almost $20,000 more in downpayment to equal the same payment you could have today. That hardly seems worth the wait.
Many buyers believe that they need a 10 or 20% downpayment on a home. That would be a huge obstacle for most first-time buyers. The good news is that it is simply untrue. There are great loan programs available that require little or no downpayment. VA, USDA and the Virginia Housing Development Authority all have great loan programs with no downpayment. Conventional loans require only a 3% downpayment for first time buyers and FHA allows a 3.5% downpayment.
Sometimes credit can be a perceived obstacle. In this day and age, credit scores are very important. Obviously the higher your score, the better since your score can impact your interest rate. However, there are loan programs available that allow credit scores down to 580. So not having a perfect score can often be overcome.
What steps should you take if you want to buy a home? The first step is to get with a reputable, experienced, local loan officer to discuss your situation. Before you start driving around finding a home you love, you need to know how much you may qualify for, what the payments would be and how much money is needed. Even if you’re convinced that you won’t be trying to buy for several months or a year it is wise to have a consultation. A good loan officer can guide you and help you plan so that you’re in the best position when the time comes. In my experience, many buyers come to me thinking they must wait only to find out that can indeed buy now. Maybe there is a credit issue that requires some work. A good mortgage professional can help you do the right things to improve your situation. I have many stories of clients that come to me thinking they’ve been working on improving their credit the past year but in actuality, were harming it. Sometimes, employment has changed or their pay structure has changed, which may affect qualifying. They may be earning more money now but not realize they have negatively impacted their qualifying income. In many of these cases, if they had come to me a year ago when they were first thinking about buying, we could have implemented a plan and they’d be shopping for a home instead of not being able to qualify now.
So if you want to own a home, sit down with a loan officer and see what is the best program to suit your situation? After all, it’s a great time to buy!
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Real Estate Matters
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Realtors and New Homes
5 good reasons : Have a pro on your side throughout the process
Buying new construction seems simple, right? Just pick out the floor plan you want, choose the perfect lot, and watch it go up. No sellers to deal with, no unexpected repairs that come up during inspection, no drawn-out negotiations. Right? Not so fast. In any real estate transaction, it’s important to have a professional on your side, even if the process seems straightforward. “Having your own agent provides a sense of security,” says Kristy Weaver, who has bought two new construction homes from two different builders. “It gives you some peace of mind, knowing that someone is looking out for your best interest.”
Peace of mind is just one benefit of having an experienced agent along for the ride. Read on for five more reasons you’ll want a local real estate agent by your side when buying a new construction home.
1. Help you find a reputable builder
“Your agent can rely on their own experience and that of their colleagues to help you find a builder you can trust.” “What’s the quality of the workmanship? What kind of warranty do they offer? What’s their track record of resolving issues? Getting a clear understanding in the beginning can alleviate serious headaches down the road.”
2. Go to bat for you
The timeline for purchasing new construction is typically quite a bit longer than buying an existing home. From the first time you visit the sales center, to choosing your layout, construction, inspections, and finally closing, there are ample opportunities for things to go sideways — think construction delays, permit issues, and financing concerns. An experienced buyer’s agent can help you navigate all of these sticky situations.
3. Help you review your contract
Even if you’ve purchased a home before, the contract for new construction is a whole different animal, and an experienced agent can help you make sure you understand everything, from floor plans to earnest money requirements, deadlines for requesting changes, and timelines for completion. “It’s crucial to have a third party who represents your interests in the transaction,” says an agent who has represented new construction buyers. “A good agent can add the proper addendums to protect you if something falls through.”
4. Assist with negotiations
Buyers’ agents know the areas where you’ll find the most wiggle room when it comes to negotiations. “Builders are trying to keep their sales price up so that the next buyers through the door see the higher closing price.” “They’d much rather throw in closing costs or additional upgrade credits.”
5. Point you toward smart upgrade choices
Builders will offer you endless options for finishes and upgrades, and it’s easy to get overwhelmed. A seasoned real estate agent can recommend the upgrades that will get you the most bang for your buck in resale value, suggest finishes that might be cheaper to do on your own, and help you avoid over-improving, which can jeopardize your appraisal before closing.
Even though a friendly sales representative will greet you with a smile the moment you walk through the door of the sales center, don’t forget that they work for the builder. Bring your own agent with you starting with your first visit — in fact, many builders require your agent to register with them from the very beginning in order for them to be involved in the process and receive their commission.
With a professional you trust by your side, you’ll rest easy knowing someone is there to protect your money, your time, and your new home.
Call 434-951-5155 or email RoyWheeler.Move@gmail.com to get in touch with a local, professional agent today!