Even if you’re not yet ready to buy a home, you may be thinking about it. Buying a home is one of the biggest purchases you’ll make in a lifetime. The process is far from simple. There are many steps, which is why you may benefit from hiring a real estate agent now. You may not be ready for 6-12 months from now, but a real estate agent can help you prepare. In order to have a near seamless home-buying experience, you need to have all your ducks in a row. A real estate agent can help you understand what you need to know about how to buy a house and how to go about getting those needs met.
Timing is Everything
Knowing 6-12 months in advance that you might be ready to purchase a home is an advantage. You haven’t yet been struck by the house-hunting bug, so patience becomes a virtue. This is the critical incubation period in which you can begin to get your finances and paperwork in order. Your real estate agent can help you understand what paperwork you need, and what “in order” truly means in real estate. When you hire the right real estate agent, you won’t experience unnecessary pressure, even if you’re a year out from potentially buying.
First Things First
Your credit must be pristine before you begin shopping for your dream home. Knowing in advance that you might purchase in the next year provides the perfect opportunity for you to obtain copies of your credit report. It is not uncommon for credit reporting agencies to make errors. Correcting those errors takes time. This extra time also allows you to make amends on any accurate derogatory items on your credit report.
With time on your side, you have the upper hand. When potential buyers start shopping before they’re prepared, the may have their heart set on a specific property and lose out because their credit wasn’t in order. Having great credit allows you to qualify for a home mortgage loan sooner, and may provide access to a larger loan. An experienced real estate agent can let you know what your credit reports and scores should look like prior to applying for home loans.
For the love of all things real estate, do not – repeat, do not – make any major purchases. Buying things like cars, expensive furniture, or other big ticket items could prevent you from qualifying for your home mortgage loan.
Shopping for loans is more important than shopping for the house you’ll purchase with that loan. Banks have individual practices, qualifications, processes, and interest rates. Knowing ahead of time that you might purchase gives you time to explore your loan options, find any special programs for which you might qualify, and choose the bank best suited to your needs.
Your real estate agent may have relationships with lenders and can steer you in the right direction. You should be pre-qualified for your home mortgage loan before you begin looking for your house. Being pre-approved lets you know exactly what you can afford, expedites the home buying process, and lets sellers know you’re in it to win it. Sellers often choose buyers with pre-approval rather than risking delays or disappointments with ill-qualified hopefuls.
Getting to Know you; Getting to Know All About You
When you begin building a relationship with your real estate agent long before you’re ready to buy, you and the agent begin understanding one another. You build trust. You develop communication habits. Your agent can get a feel for your personality, needs, wants, and hopes for your new house. Your agent can help you build and refine your wish list, understand where you’re willing to compromise, and can help you process current real estate market trends. Then, when it comes time to purchase, your agent knows exactly what you need and where you want to be. Furthermore, if you don’t love, love, love the agent you’re meeting with, you have time to switch agents before any contracts are signed.
By the time you’re in the home buying process, you and your real estate agent will have come a long way. And that’s a good thing, because when it comes time to deal with things like appraisals, inspections, and escrow, you’ll trust the wisdom your real estate agent brings to the table.
Summing it Up
There’s really no valid reason to prolong hiring your real estate agent, even if you’re not ready to buy. You need this time to prepare. You need this time to form a relationship, build trust, understand one another, and benefit from his or her advice when it comes to dotting your i’s and crossing your t’s.
Your best source for real estate and community information is your real estate agent. Contact Juan Leal at 305-982-7405 to learn more about local neighborhoods, discuss selling your house, or to tour available homes in Miami and surrounding areas.