School is just about over and you might be thinking that this is the perfect time to finally make the big move and buy a new home. The mortgage rates are still low (on average, it’s below 3% for a fixed rate, 30-year loan) and if you’re selling a house at the same time, you could walk away with a decent profit if you have the equity in your home.
It’s a strong seller’s market right now and bidding wars are popping up all over the country. If you want to buy right now, here are three things you have to do before diving in.
1. Research the neighborhood you want to move to
If you’re moving in the same neighborhood that you currently live in, you don’t need to do any research. However if you’re relocating to a new area, you’ll want to check it out before setting down roots. Key points that you’ll want to research include:
- School district
- Access to public transportation
- Crime rate
- Cost of living/housing
- Property taxes
- Access to shopping and recreation
2. Find a local top-rated real estate agent
When you think of doing any kind of real estate transaction (either buying or selling), you’re going to need a real estate agent. You don’t want to hire the first agent you find on Google because not all agents have the same knowledge of the area or work ethic!
You can search for agents by using Google and read reviews, but you can also ask friends, family or join a local Facebook group to ask for recommendations. You’ll want to contact the agents to set up an appointment to talk to them, either by phone or in person. This is your chance to interview them and ask them about their background, their familiarity with the area, their marketing plans for your property and so on.
Jot down their responses to go over them at home and choose the agent who you think will be the best person for the job.
3. Get pre-approved for a mortgage
We can’t stress enough how important it is to get pre-approved for a mortgage! Not only will you eliminate the possibility of closing being delayed due to problems securing financing, but it’ll give you a definitive budget. When you’re pre-approved, you know exactly how much you can afford and that’ll help your agent find properties within that budget.
Of course, if you run into a situation where you’re in a bidding war and you don’t want to lose the house, you will need to come up with the difference.
Preparedness is crucial when buying a house in 2021
According to Homelight’s Q1 2021 survey, 93% of real estate agents say home values have increased in their areas and NAR reported the median sales price rose by 19.1% as of May 2021! So while you could make a profit if you have enough equity, you may be paying more for a house when you buy.
With that said, don’t let that scare you. A seasoned real estate pro will be able to guide you through the process and negotiation on your behalf to make sure you get the best deal possible. They’ll recommend when you should raise your offer price, what contingencies you should include/exclude, or in the worst case scenario, when to walk away.
In short, the real estate agent is going to be your ticket to getting the home of your dreams – especially in this market!