The U.S. housing market has seen considerable activity in recent years. From the lockdown induced drop in housing supply in 2020 to the rapid increase in interest rates in 2022, buyers have had to wade through one of the more active (and expensive) housing markets in history. As the season turns to what has historically been the busiest time of the year for housing, consider the following seven steps to help get you from dreaming to walking through the front door of your next home:
- Determine Your Budget: Before you start looking at homes, you should determine how much you can afford to spend. Consider your current income, expenses, debts, and credit score. You should also factor in additional expenses such as closing costs, property taxes, homeowners insurance, and maintenance costs. Typically, your upper limit for these expenses is 28% of gross income.
- Get Pre-Approved for a Mortgage: Getting pre-approved for a mortgage can help you determine how much you can afford to spend on a home and can also make your offer more attractive to sellers. Shop around and compare rates and terms from different lenders to find the best deal.
- Find a Real Estate Agent: A real estate agent can help you find properties that meet your criteria and negotiate the best deal for you. Look for an agent with experience in the area where you want to buy and who has a good reputation.
- Shop for Homes: Use online listings and your agent’s resources to find homes that meet your needs and budget. Visit open houses and schedule private showings to get a feel for the properties you are interested in.
- Make an Offer: Once you find a home you like, make an offer that takes into account the market value of the property, any repairs or upgrades that may be needed, and your budget. Your agent can help you negotiate with the seller to get the best deal.
- Complete Inspections and Appraisals: Once your offer is accepted, you will need to have the property inspected by a professional inspector to identify any issues that may need to be addressed. You will also need to have the property appraised to ensure that it is worth the amount you are paying.
- Close the Sale: If everything checks out and your financing is in order, you will need to sign a purchase agreement and close the sale. This involves paying closing costs and signing a mortgage agreement with your lender.
Remember, buying a home is a big investment and it’s important to do your research and make informed decisions throughout the process. If you’re wondering how much is too much when it comes to your housing budget, reach out to financial planners at Francis to give you a game plan that will keep your housing costs in check. Visit us at francisway.com, click “Services”, then “Participant Portal” to get started.