Feb. 19, 2020

How Buyers Can Prepare For An Early Start To The Spring Market

If you’re ready to purchase a new home, there are several things you can do before you hit your first open house to make sure the process goes as smoothly as possible.

Clean up your credit: Your credit score not only impacts your ability to secure a mortgage at all, but it will also determine the interest rate you’ll pay. If you’re worried about your credit score, start working toward raising it by paying all your bills on time and making sure your balances are low.

Pro tip: Speak to an experienced mortgage professional. Sometimes they can advise you on what (and what not) to pay down or off, in order to improve your credit score.

Save for a down payment (and then some!): Being able to put 20% of the purchase price down at your closing isn’t necessary, but it could help you in terms of better rates and overall monthly payments. It can also help you to avoid paying for mortgage insurance (CMHC). It’s also wise to save for emergencies because once you’re in your new home you never know what may suddenly need repair.

Get pre-approved for a mortgage: Getting pre-approved lets sellers know you’re the real deal and can bring extra negotiating power to the table. And, it let’s you know what you can afford, so you focus on the right price points, and can choose the perfect one to go after with confidence.

Rather than just prequalification, which is more like an estimate of what you can borrow, a pre-approval means the loan is much more likely to get through underwriting once you get a home under contract, because the lender has already assessed your credit, income, debts, and assets.

Plus, if you find yourself competing for a property, being able to tell a seller you’re pre-approved can give you the advantage you need against others who are not.

Do your due diligence: Think you’ve found an area you like? Check out neighborhoods at different times of day, and be sure to notice traffic patterns. For example, is the home you like on a street drivers use to dodge traffic on Main Street. Will you encounter school drop-off or pick-up congestion that will make getting in or out of your driveway a hassle? How about early morning church bells or that fire house whistle? Consider all these factors, and anything else that may appeal to you, or bother you personally, as you’re driving past potential homes.

Find the right real estate agent: Whether this is your first or fiftieth home purchase, it’s still wise to enlist the help of a buyer’s agent. After all, it doesn’t cost you anything out of pocket typically, and a good agent will help you by sharing their inside knowledge not only of the neighborhood, but also help establish what’s a good value in your price range.

Plus, they’ll arrange showings on your behalf and they may also be able to alert you to red flags you’d otherwise miss while touring properties. These seasoned experts will be happy to refer you to other pros you’ll want on your side, such as home inspectors, attorneys, and lenders.

If you’re planning on buying, you may be competing with plenty of other buyers once Spring is in full swing. So, taking care of the items listed above can help you get the edge you need. 

Posted in Buying a Home
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