I’m looking forward to my upcoming Lunch and Learn at Nacho Mama’s on April 1st. It’s been a great way for me to collaborate with other local professionals on topics I’m not an expert on, and I’m excited to share my expertise with everyone and answer any questions they might have. So, in the sharing spirit, I recently had a client who found their dream home and while they were excited about it, they ultimately didn’t put an offer down which ended up being the right decision. So I’d like to share a few tips on how to be prepared when house hunting.
- A very important step before you start to house hunt is to get pre-approval for a loan. This saves you so much time and stress when beginning your investment. Don’t get attached to a house without knowing your budget. My clients were in fact prepared with their pre-approved loan. Taking that step allows you to house-hunt with confidence and also lets the seller know that you’re serious about buying and not just browsing, which may be perceived as wasting their time.
- It’s helpful to have a checklist. When you’re looking for a home its easy to get caught up in the excitement, imagining your life in every space you see, which is why having a checklist is important to help bring you back to earth. Does this home have a washer/dryer, dishwasher, ceiling fans? Practical check lists can help you make a better buying decision, and also calculate the true cost of moving. You’ll have to incorporate big purchases like an updated refrigerator into the cost of the house. This kind of spending isn’t limited to major appliances. While buying a home without tons of curb appeal can save you money on the bottom line, it’s also an investment of your time and money to make those improvements down the line.
- Its very important to keep the future in mind. My clients were first time home buyers and were concerned about growing out of their house too quickly. The house they had in mind would be perfect if they could turn the attic into a master suite. “We found what we thought could be our dream home…we were ready to have an expert come look at it in just a few days,” my client said, recounting her experience. Even with a contractor ready to go, the house they fell in love with had an offer on it less than 48 hours on the market. It wasn’t enough time for their contractor to give them the go-ahead.
- Ultimately they weren’t ready to commit their loan to a house they weren’t sure they could expand. So, even after being prepared with their pre-approved loan they had to let go of the house. “Definitely the quicker you take action the better your chances, but we aren’t going to rush into such a huge decision without being sure first,” my client had the right idea. When making that kind of investment, you want to be positive that you’re spending your money wisely and for the long term. Eventually you also want to think about the return on your investment, and being able to make that improvement on the home would’ve ensured that for them, within their loan budget.
So while the market makes no guarantees, you can vastly improve your odds in the game by having your ducks in a row financially. It helps you make smarter decisions about the investment in your future. Because my clients were confident in what they wanted their money to buy and how they wanted to put their investment work for them, they were able to pass on that home. It was a sound decision not to rush an offer because of the pressure put on them by another buyer. But without knowing their loan amount in advance, they wouldn’t have even been a contender.