Spring and summer are the absolute best time to buy a new home and move. The weather is perfect, you get the entire summer to get the kids settled in and enrolled in their new schools and you have time to complete all those renovation projects before the cold weather sets in.
According to some experts, almost half of the home sales recorded in the United States occur between March and July. This means if you attempt to buy a home in the spring and summer you will face competition from other buyers. That makes it even more important that you have your proverbial ducks in a row before you begin.
Take these steps to prepare to buy a home when the weather warms up.
Set a Budget
Budgeting for your new home involves two parts. First, you need to budget how you plan to save for such one-time expenses as your down payment, closing costs, renting a moving truck, and perhaps furnishing and painting your new home. Setup a separate savings account and begin saving as soon as possible.
The second part of your budget is determining how much home you can comfortably afford. As a general rule, you should spend a maximum of 2.5 times your current annual income on your new home and your total debt payments (mortgage, car note, credit cards and student loans) should not exceed one third of your gross monthly income. Stay within these parameters and you should have no trouble paying your bills each month.
Decide What You Want and Need in a Home
Establishing what you want and you need is an important part of the process of buying a home. Wants are simply things that would be nice to have in a home. Need are must haves. They are essential. You should make a list of both before you begin to explore available properties whether online or in person. Sit down with your real estate agent to discuss what you are looking for in a home.
Apply for Loan Preapproval
Contact several lenders – either online or in person – and explore your options as far as terms and rate. Once you decide on the right loan and lender for you, gather the necessary documents and submit them. Once you have a preapproval letter in hand, you have the ability to move quickly when you find the right home, and that can give you an advantage when competing against several interested buyers for the same property.
Follow these steps, and you will be ready to enter the competitive real estate market this spring. Contact me today for a consultation. I will be happy to answer any questions you may have, and help you find your dream home.
Photo courtesy of Ken Whytock at Flickr.com.