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First Steps to Buying a House
Evaluate the local housing market
The state of the real estate market in your area is often the biggest factor in timing your home purchase and sale correctly. Knowing what kind of market you’re in is important whether you’re just moving across town, or if you’re moving across the country. If you’re selling in one market and buying in another, you’ll need to factor that into your timing. The length of time it takes to buy and sell can vary dramatically depending on the local real estate scene.
In a buyers market, there are more homes available than people looking to buy and you’ll likely have an easier time finding your new home than you will selling your old home. Sellers may be willing to accept a contingent offer, which means you agree to purchase their home contingent on selling yours first. In a sellers market, there are more buyers in the marketplace than there are homes available. In a sellers market, your current home will likely sell more quickly than you’ll be able to find a new home. Consider asking your buyers to do a rent-back after closing to allow you time to find your new place.
Choose an experienced real estate agent
Buying and selling at the same time can be complicated and at times overwhelming, so it’s helpful to have a pro by your side. An experienced local agent will not only be able to help you determine the market value of your home, but they’ll be able to talk you through timing, strategy, and negotiation. In addition to answering questions about process and helping you negotiate, one of the most important roles your agent plays is to help you find the perfect listing price — one that will help you sell on your desired timeline and for enough money to help you take that next step. They’ll use their local market expertise and comparables to inform the price.
Understand your financials
After you’ve chosen an agent and gotten a feel for your local market, it’s time to know your numbers. Reach out to both your mortgage lender and your financial planner to see what’s feasible based on your financial situation. The amount of liquid cash, the amount of equity in your home, and the loan products you qualify for can all factor into which path you take.
THE HOMEBUYING PROCESS
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