Spring and summer are typically the busiest times of the year to shop for a home. Not only is the weather nicer, but it is often easier to move when children are on spring or summer break. With spring just a month away, here are some steps you can take to prepare yourself for the home shopping season:
- Start interviewing REALTORS® to find one who is a good fit for you. We recommend choosing an experienced REALTOR® who is familiar with the community where you want to live and who has expertise in all areas of the home buying transaction.
- Clean up your credit. Even if you have stellar credit, your credit report may contain errors or inaccuracies. Before starting the loan approval process, order your free credit report (every consumer is entitled to one free report each year) and check it closely. Report any mistakes to the appropriate credit bureau right away. This process can take months, so start now if you are planning on a spring or summer home purchase.
- Get pre-approved. By accomplishing this step early on, you’ll know how much home you can afford and how much of a down payment you’ll need. According to the National Association of REALTORS®, the average down payment for homes is 6%, but you can find loans with down payments as low as 3%.
- Budget accordingly. Once you’re pre-approved, consider all of the additional costs you’ll have to cover including moving expenses, closing costs, homeowner’s insurance, home warranty, etc.
- Be prepared to make an offer. Once you begin shopping, your REALTOR® will show you new listings as soon as they come on the market. Be prepared to make time for a tour, know what criteria are most important to you (e.g., schools, neighborhood, # of bedrooms, acreage, etc.) and don’t delay in making an offer when you find the right home. In a competitive real estate market, some buyers come prepared for cash sales and others are willing to bump up their offer to secure their dream home.
By following these steps, you can put yourself in a good position to begin your home shopping. Have questions? Want to discuss a spring or summer home purchase? Contact your local REALTOR® for help.