Last week we covered tips for those of you planning to list your homes this spring. What about those of you in the market to buy? We’re expecting an active market in the Kansas City area again this spring. If you are serious about buying, now is a good time to get things in order so you can move quickly when you find your dream home.
Wrap Up Loose Ends
Before you start looking for a new home, determine what needs to be done to move on from your current home. If you are currently leasing, confirm when your lease is up. It’s worth exploring options for ending the lease early, if need be. Learn what the terms are for that now so you can evaluate the cost/benefit.
If you own a home, this is the time to contact your realtor and get your home ready to sell. If you’re in a position to get on the market in the next few weeks, go for it. Your negotiating power on the buying side is much stronger when your current home is under contract or already sold.
Get Finances in Order
Finances may not be the most exciting part of a new home search, but they are necessary. The sooner you get a jump on the paperwork and this step, the better off your position will be to make a serious offer when you find a home you are interested in. Many sellers won’t even consider an offer until proof of financing is in place. That said, you don’t want to finalize pre-approval until you are ready to start making offers as the terms are usually only good for 30 days.
Go ahead and talk with a recommended mortgage professional. If you need referrals, let me know. Through this process you will get a better picture of where you are at financially and what you can afford to spend. Start collecting documentation. You will need 2-3 months of statements for all bank accounts. During this time, try not to transfer large amounts of money between accounts. Once you start this process, it’s also best not to make major purchases or deposits. This is not the time to go out and buy new furniture for the new house! Big-ticket purchases can throw off your financing to the point a loan won’t close. You will also need 2-3 months of paystubs, 2 years of tax returns and W-2s.
Most importantly, know your spending ceiling and stick to it. Do not look at homes you know you cannot afford. Having a hard limit established before you house-hunt can help you avoid an emotional decision.
Start the Search
Here comes the fun part. Start looking for your dream home! Make a list of “wants” and “needs.” What are the items you absolutely have to have and what items would be a bonus? It’s important everyone is on the same page if you want to move quickly, so this is a good time to have discussions with your significant other, spouse or family. Know your motivation for this move. When you have a clear purpose for a move, it helps keep you focused and your search in line with your goals.
Communicate all of this to your realtor so he/she has a good understanding of your wants and expectations. Armed with this information, they will be able to provide you with new listings and market comps for the neighborhoods you are interested in so you can monitor listings and pricing. Let your realtor be your guide through this process!
If you want to buy and/or sell a home soon and aren’t already working with a realtor, let me know. I would be happy to meet with you and share comps to help narrow your search parameters. You can reach me at (913) 980-2434. Being well-prepared will put you in a good position to make a solid offer when you find the home for you! Good luck!