Right now all over the country, we have a huge influx of homebuyer prospects and not much inventory at all! So, if you are in the market for a new home, there are 3 crucial things you need to be prepared for before you ever even see that first home!
Pre-Approval is a Must! - This is the most important first steps for so many reasons! Number 1, you will know up front what you can afford to borrow on a home and number 2, having a written pre-approval letter from a lender is necessary in today's market when you are submitting an offer. When a seller looks at an offer, they don't only look at the amount of money of the offer, they look at all sorts of options on a contract and one of the main things is the buyer's financing. If they have a buyer that may have offered less, but, has secure financing in place, that offer shows the seller that the buyer has done their research and knows that they can actually afford the house they are making an offer on. This one piece of information can make a big difference in how an offer appears to a seller. No one wants to go through a week of steps only to find out that the deal is falling through because the buyer didn't even check to see if they could get financing. This step saves you and the seller a lot of heartache from the get go. When you are looking for a home, you want to know what you can afford and that a seller will have security in your offer.
Shop Virtually First - If you are pre-approved and have your Realtor in your pocket, the next thing to do is to shop virtually as much as you can first. Pictures can mislead a bit, but, they also can at least give you an idea of what a home looks like on the inside before you schedule a tour of the home. You can learn a lot about a home on a website. How many bedrooms, sizes of the rooms, how many square feet a home has and even some amenities. You can even do some comparative shopping that way. For instance, if you know the sizes of the rooms in your current home, you can sort of judge the actual size of a home online by comparison. You can also compare between several homes in their features, location and value to you. You can even have your Realtor do a virtual walk-thru with you to get even a better look at a home. This option was huge during the pandemic. It was a safer option for people to view the inside of a home. Virtual isn't just via a screen either. You can drive by a home and see it's location before you ever go inside for a tour as well. Sometimes just doing this affects whether that home stays in your "maybe" list or not! I think doing as much shopping this way before scheduling showings is the best way to go. It saves you time, it saves your Realtor time and it helps weed out unnecessary options that just may keep you from getting to that one house that will work before someone else snatches it up! Time is of the essence when shopping for a home, especially in this market.
Be Open to Change - Another thing you need to be open to is change. Consider increasing the area you are looking in, be open to letting go of small features you can change later in a home and be willing to trust your Realtor when they suggest an option or two. As buyers, we get so caught up in finding the perfect home, that we may miss a "diamond in the rough" that would be perfect for us because we are too focused on one thing or another, that is why a Realtor with experience can help look at things objectively and find those options that matter to us as well as what is a good value for us. The inventory right now is really low and just like when there is a popular toy around Christmas--people scrambling around to get one, willing to wait in line for a showing and even pay more than they should just to get that special home.
It's a battleground out there right now when it comes to shopping for a new home. So many buyers trying to buy the same houses that are listed, but, with a pre-approval in your hand, your options open and an experienced Realtor at your side, you will find a home that suits you, you just need a little bit of patience and quick thinking.