Buying a home, especially your first home, can be an exciting process. Wichita has a wealth of properties for all budgets, amenity requirements, and real estate location desires, and mortgage rates are at historic lows. To keep the home buying process as positive as possible, keep these 5 tips in mind.
Ever since 2008, credit has been tight, but not inaccessible. You need to get your credit score in check. Review reports from all three credit bureaus and resolve any disputed claims. Keep in mind that every mortgage bank has different requirements, but try to get your credit score above 660. Ideally, a 700 credit score will get you a good deal and anything above 750 will get you the best mortgage rates.
Next, consider what your down payment will be. If you plan on putting down less than 20%, you may have difficulty finding a mortgage lender and will definitely have to pay mortgage insurance.
Finally, get pre-approved with your bank. This will let home sellers know that you are a qualified buyer that will be able to close on the contract.
This is largely determined by your budget. Your pre-approval letter from the bank will let you know how much the bank is willing to loan for a home. As a point of good financial advice, don’t search for a home that maxes out your budget. Leave some room in there for utilities, incidentals, and curve balls that life often throws your way.
Once you’ve determined how much home you want to buy, limit your home searches to that. Often, homebuyers limit their searches to neighborhoods they are familiar with. Wichita has neighborhoods that are hidden gems that might hold your perfect home. So, search everywhere!
While you’re exploring your options online, get in touch with a real estate agent to assist in your search. Coldwell Banker Plaza Real Estate agents have access to property listings that meet your requirements that you may be overlooking. We also may know of new properties coming onto the market; use an agent to jump ahead of competing homebuyers. Your agent will also help weed out bad properties from good ones.
Prior to making an offer, you need to consider specific questions for the property. Are there any cold spots in the home? Does the basement toilet leak? When were the carpets installed? What’s the story with the water stain in the hallway ceiling? What are the yearly maintenance costs for the backyard pool? Your agent can find those answers for you.
Your real estate agent is your consultant and negotiator in the home buying process. Rely on their expertise to get you the best deal. The home may not be worth the asking price. Conversely, sending a low-ball offer to the home sellers will likely throw you out of contention for the property. They will work with the selling agent on your behalf to find an equatable price.
At this point in the home buying process, you’re on cruise control. Provided the seller has met your financial and repair addendums, and your finances are still in order, you will close on your new home.
At closing, don’t be shy about asking the previous owner details about the home. What are the neighbors like? Are there any seasonal secrets to dampening the HVAC vents? Does the pool get warm in the summer? Do the neighbor’s dogs bark at night? Every home has its own charm, and this is the time to learn its little secrets so that you truly happy in your new home.