The season for buying a home in New England and the northern states -- spring and early summer-- is merely weeks away. As it is the biggest investment for most people, home buying is a series of careful preparation, considerations and negotiation -- all of which can be extremely difficult for first-time buyers or those who neglect to do their home work.
We've come up with five suggestions for you to think about before and during the process (and we really recommended paying attention to No. 1).
1. First, take stock of your credit score
Among other things, your credit score impacts the interest rate you'll get. The higher your credit score the lower your home interest rate. With a 750 score or better, home seekers can lock in the middle-to-low 4 percent range.
2. How is the market?
Is it a buyer's market with lots of affordable homes for sale? In a buyer's market, the buyer has negotiating power since there are more homes for sale and not so many buyers. Or is it a seller's market, where the demand exceeds inventory? In a seller's market, negotiation favors the seller since inventory is limited, and sellers can kick up their asking prices.
3. Google Earth, Google Maps
Using tools such as Google Earth and Google Maps are effective in getting a preliminary feel for a neighborhood or community, a terrific starting point. They can give you the 30,000 foot view of the area. On Google earth you'll be able to get a quick idea of where things are in the neighborhood, like supermarkets, shopping areas, and schools. But Google will only take you so far. Once you've found an area that you think has possibilities, we can't stress enough the importance of house hunting by car; of getting the best visual of your potential new home. Drive-by house hunting enables you to decide quickly if the home is worth a second look.
4. Make a critical review of the area
Since you're already in your car, take the time to drive around the greater area to see if the community has the services you need. Some important things to look for include:
- A neighborhood or community close to good schools
- Nearby access to mass and/or public transit
- A business district with a grocery store, pharmacy, fuel station, etc... In general, does the neighborhood make you comfortable? Do you find yourself saying 'I could see myself living here?
5. Buying a home? Don't go it alone
The first quarter of 2018 has seen interest rates begin to creep up, meaning signs are pointing to a buyer's market and inventory could be limited. The best real estate agents know how to guide you through a buyer's market, hence the reason to always hire the best agent.
Best Agent Today has made that process easy. Simply type in the zip code of your desired community (or communities) to find the top producing real estate agents. Visit BestAgentToday.com today to get started.