Sue Ryan's Blog
Buying a home is a lengthy process that requires months or even years of planning. The end result, however, is to have a home you can truly call your own and to own equity that you can then use later down the road.
Figuring out the right time to buy a home can be difficult for prospective homeowners. You’ll need to have a firm grasp on your finances and personal goals for what you want your life to look like for the next 5 or more years.
Buying a home in more than just a financial commitment. It also means you take on all of the responsibilities of owning that home. Maintenance, both inside and out, can take up a significant amount of your time.
Furthermore, owning a home ties you down to one area. You’ll need to determine if you’re ready and able to settle in one area for the next 5-7 years. This has implications for careers and for family life. Will your job bring you elsewhere? If you change jobs, are there ample opportunities where you live? These are just a couple of the questions you’ll need to ask yourself before deciding whether you’re ready to buy a home.
To simplify the process, I’ve created a checklist for some of the things you’ll need before you’re ready to buy a home. While this list does cover the basics, there may be other factors unique to your circumstances that you’ll have to take into consideration.
So, if you’re thinking about buying a home sometime in the near future, read on for the checklist. And, keep in mind that these are not necessarily mandatory before buying a home. But they will give you the best chance of making a solid investment and securing financial stability.
The home buyer’s preparedness checklist
Raise your credit score to 750 or more. A score in the “excellent” range will help you get the lowest possible interest rate on your mortgage. It’s possible to get approved for a mortgage with a score that is much lower, but a high score is ideal and can help you avoid PMI and a high interest rate.
Have an emergency fund saved. You don’t want to buy a house and then suddenly find yourself needing money for an emergency. Save a month’s worth of expenses before your down payment.
Have an active budget plan for saving up your down payment. Creating a dedicated savings account that you automatically have a portion of your pay deposited into is a good way to ensure that you meet your savings goals.
Bolster the case for your financial stability. Lenders will want to see that your income is predictable and regular. Keep records of your income, tax returns, and anything else that can help show that you’re making more than enough money to safely lend to.
Have open conversations with your family. If you’ll be buying a home with a spouse and/or children, discuss what you’re looking for in a home. This can include location, size, etc. It’s a good idea for everyone to be on the same page before you ever start shopping for a home.
Get preapproved. Getting preapproved for a home loan will make you a better prospective buyer in the eyes of sellers.
Run the numbers again. Aside from your mortgage payments, you’ll also have to pay utilities, trash removal, property taxes, and any other expenses related to the home. Make sure you can comfortably afford these while still contributing to savings.
56 Heatherwood Dr, Marlborough, MA 01752
Looking to add your home to the real estate market sooner rather than later? Ultimately, you'll want to look beyond the potential price of your residence as you get your house ready for the real estate market.
For home sellers, price is one of several factors to consider before they list their houses. In fact, some of the top home selling factors to evaluate beyond price include:
1. A Home's Location
A home's location may dictate how quickly you're able to sell your residence. And if you understand the benefits associated with your house's location, you should have no trouble promoting your residence to the right groups of homebuyers consistently.
For example, a home that is located near a big city may prove to be an ideal choice for those who work in the city. On the other hand, a house that is located near top schools could prove to be an ideal option for families.
2. A Home's Condition
Although you've tried to maintain your house's interior and exterior over the years, you may still be uncertain about how your residence will stack up against other houses in a competitive real estate market.
Fortunately, a home appraisal can help you take an in-depth look at your house's condition and map out your home selling journey.
During a home appraisal, a property inspector will examine your residence. The appraisal may take several hours to complete, as a property inspector will investigate your house's interior and exterior.
When a home appraisal is finished, a property inspector will provide you with a detailed report that describes his or her findings. Then, you can use the home insights contained within this report to prioritize myriad home improvements.
With a home appraisal, you can gain deep insights into your house's condition. That way, you can better understand your house's strengths and weaknesses prior to adding your home to the housing market.
3. The Current State of the Housing Market
The current state of the housing market may impact your ability to sell your house, and for good reason.
For instance, if you're operating in a seller's market, there may be an abundance of homebuyers and a shortage of top-notch houses. This means there will be high demand for the best residences, and you may attract plenty of interest in your house as soon as it becomes available.
Let's not forget about a buyer's market, either. In a buyer's market, there are many home sellers and few homebuyers. Therefore, a home seller may need to allocate significant time and resources to stir up interest in his or her property.
For those who are unsure about how to navigate a seller's or buyer's market, hiring a real estate agent usually is an excellent idea. A real estate agent can teach you about the current state of the housing market so that you can get the best results possible during the home selling journey.
Look beyond price before you list your residence, and by doing so, you can boost your chances of a fast home sale.
For years home ownership has been the American dream, but, according to the Pew Research Center, a higher percentage of us are renters than at any other time in the last 50 years. Is that a bad thing? Not necessarily. For many people renting may be the right choice. Every individual and family needs to consider all the factors and make the decision that’s right for them.
The Financial Consideration
There’s a rule of thumb called the price to rent ratio. You get it by dividing the price of a house by the annual rent. For example, if you can buy a house for $300,000 or rent it for $1500 per month, the ratio is 300,000 / (12 * 1500), or 16.7. When the number is 15 or less, buying is the better choice, when it’s 16 to 20, renting becomes more favorable and when it’s over 20 renting is significantly better. However, this fails to take in factors like down payment amount, financing terms, taxes, insurance and other costs, which can vary widely. A more accurate number, telling you how long it will take to cover the up-front costs of ownership and pull even financially with renting, can be found using one of many calculators available.
The Other Considerations
While this sort of calculation is valuable, there are other questions, both financial and lifestyle-related, that the potential renter or buyer must ask.
What can I spend upfront for down payment and closing costs?
Can I afford a major repair such as replacing a furnace or air conditioner? There are insurance-like plans to defray some of that cost, but those make up another annual expense.
How long do I plan to stay? Selling a home and buying a new one is costly and time-consuming.
Which is more important to me, stability or flexibility?
Advantages of Home Ownership
As the inheritor of the American dream, the homeowner has some opportunities and privileges that the renter can’t enjoy.
Appreciation and equity. As home value rises and morgage balance drops, homeowners gain equity, which for many is their most valuable asset.
Freedom to remodel. There’s no landlord telling you what you can and can’t do with your property.
Stable monthly payments. Taxes and insurance can increase, but principal and interest payment remains the same. If you stay there long enough, eventually you’ll have no principal/interest to pay at all.
Tax advantage. For most people, it isn’t what it was before the 2017 tax changes, but interest and taxes may still be deductible.
Stability. You can become a member of your neighborhood and your children can stay in the same school system. No landlord can decide to sell and give you notice.
Advantages of Renting
No large upfront expenses.
Your landlord is responsible for major repairs.
Still some opportunity to build credit by paying rent promptly.
You have less at risk. You won’t be affected if property values fall.
Flexibility. If you choose to move you can easily give notice and do so.
Here’s one last question: which feels better, the satisfaction of owning your own castle or the freedom to change your life quickly? The answer may go a long way toward pointing you in the right direction.
Want to add your house to the real estate market? Work with an expert real estate agent, and you can streamline the home selling process.
A real estate agent can make a world of difference for any home seller, at any time. This housing market professional will teach you the ins and outs of selling a home and ensure you can get the best price for your residence. Plus, he or she will be ready to respond to your home selling questions and provide consistent support as the home selling journey progresses.
Ultimately, it is important to understand what it takes to work with a real estate agent. This will allow you to maintain a positive approach throughout the home selling process. It might help you improve your chances of a quick sale too.
What does it take to work with a real estate agent? Here are three rules that every home seller should consider.
1. Hire a Real Estate Agent That Makes You Feel Comfortable
Selling a home can be stressful, particularly for a first-time property seller. Fortunately, working with the right real estate agent ensures you can receive world-class home selling guidance.
As a home seller, you should employ a real estate agent that makes you feel comfortable. This housing market professional will be able to alleviate your home selling concerns and guarantee you are fully supported at each stage of the home selling journey.
2. Keep the Lines of Communication Open at All Times
What good is a real estate agent if he or she won't keep you up to date about home showings, offers on your residence and homebuyer feedback?
For a home seller, it is paramount to collaborate with a real estate agent who can provide immediate assistance. This housing market professional should be ready to communicate with you via phone, email and text and provide regular updates throughout the home selling cycle.
Your real estate agent also should be unafraid to be honest with you. That way, you can receive unbiased suggestions and recommendations from your real estate agent that can help you make informed home selling decisions.
3. Understand That Problems May Arise During Home Selling Process
Although a real estate agent will do everything possible to promote your house to the right groups of property buyers, it is vital to remember that the real estate market offers no guarantees. In addition, problems sometimes may arise that may slow down the home selling journey.
Your real estate agent should be able to describe challenges that you may encounter before you add your residence to the housing market. This will enable you to plan ahead and allocate the necessary time and resources to reduce the risk of such problems.
Hiring a real estate agent to help you sell your house may seem difficult at first. But with the aforementioned tips, you can find an expert real estate professional who will make it easy for you to sell your residence.