William Schumann, 1st Vice President—Mortgage Sales
Ready to make your move? Whether you are trading up, downsizing or taking your first plunge into home ownership, preparation makes for a more efficient process and, ultimately, more livable results. What you’re preparing for is more than a financial transaction—it’s a purchase that will influence your overall lifestyle.
Choose a Neighborhood
A good real estate agent can help you understand what a neighborhood offers and how it might match up with your lifestyle preferences. There are also a variety of apps you can download to help you get acquainted with an area’s walkability, its schools, and how well it will serve your daily needs.
Determine What “Home” Looks Like
Once you decide where you want to look, consider the type of home you are looking for. Many online listings now have walk-through videos to provide previews. Although, until you start walking through homes, knowing what will feel comfortable may be hard to gauge, especially if this is your first purchase.
Find Your Financial Comfort Zone
Once you develop a feel for your preferences, it’s time to start thinking about what you are comfortable with financially. You should consider where you are today, given your current income and debt levels, and where you expect to be in a few years.
For an approximate idea of what will be affordable, you can take a DIY approach and use the calculators that banks like ours offer to help you run the numbers. However, it’s typically more helpful to sit down and talk to a banker. A banker can also prequalify you, which will improve your understanding of how much of a mortgage you can comfortably afford, giving consideration to both the monthly payment as well as the total loan amount.
Speaking with a mortgage professional also alerts you to any programs you may qualify for. Currently, there are programs with special incentives for first-time buyers. There are also programs that make buying a property that will need immediate fixing up more affordable.
Spring is considered the kickoff to the home-buying season. This year, however, there is some incentive for starting to prep for buying a bit earlier.
Recently, mortgage rates increased. The rise was not dramatic, and though additional increases are anticipated in 2017, mortgage rates are expected to remain at the low end of their historical range. However, each increase adds to the cost of buying.
Another reason to start preparing now is that home values in many areas have recovered to their prerecession levels. Realtor.com forecasts that prices in our area could rise another 1.95 percent this year.
For more information on how we can help you prepare for your home purchase, visit us here or call 1-877-966-0202. We can’t wait to talk to you about what we can do to help you make your next move.