House hunting is a complicated process. From finding the right home, to locking down a mortgage rate you can afford, it is a process that requires an attention to detail and a well-thought-out plan. Below are seven steps to take as you begin house hunting to ensure you stay focused and on budget.
1. Establish your goal.
Searching for your dream house? Upgrading your current digs or looking to downsize? Whatever the goal is behind your impending home purchase, be sure you understand it clearly before beginning your house hunt. This will eliminate wasted time spent viewing homes that don’t meet your top priority.
2. Create a wish list.
Once your primary objective is in place, it’s time to list all of the additional features and amenities you expect from the property you eventually buy. Do you want a swimming pool in the backyard, a balcony off of your master bedroom or crown molding throughout? Brainstorming must-haves and also-nice-to-haves helps to further narrow down your search field.
3. Get pre-approved.
Knowing exactly how much you can afford to spend ahead of time helps the house hunting process goes much smoother, not to mention, eliminates the disappointment of learning you don’t have enough saved for the home you’ve had your eye on all this time. Getting pre-approved for a mortgage will set your budget straight off.
4. Hire a real estate agent.
No one understands the intricacies of a local housing market like a real estate agent with years of experience helping others buy and sell property within it. Save yourself time and headache and hire a highly rated agent to see you through the process.
5. Ask questions and take notes.
This is probably the biggest purchase you’ll ever make, so don’t hold back if you have questions or concerns. Ensure you have no lingering questions about the property, mortgage financing terms or anything else that could lead to regret down the line. And don’t forget to write down important notes as you view house after house — things that seem important in the moment are easily forgotten after five open houses.
6. Do some recon work.
Spend time hanging around the house you have your eye on, and during different times of the day. Does it get noisy? Is the traffic a nightmare? What are the neighbors up to? The worst thing would be to lock into your mortgage, only to find that while you love your house, you hate the neighborhood around it.
7. Look out for hidden expenses.
Finally, it’s important to investigate more than just the house itself to find out if there are potential money traps within. For example, find out when the home’s appliances, water heater, roof, etc. were last replaced so that you aren’t surprised with a big expense shortly after moving in.
Madison, WI – Each year, millions of Americans move into the home of their dreams. As time goes by, families expand, kids grow older, and suddenly that home isn’t quite so perfect anymore. Or perhaps you still love your home, but you really want a gourmet kitchen and a larger master bedroom. Should you start looking for a new house? Or would it be better to stay where you are and remodel instead?
Both options involve a significant investment of time and money, so it’s important to take your time and make an informed decision. You’ll also want to be sure to consider both the financial and the emotional sides of the equation. Let’s begin by examining the financial factors involved.
• How much will it cost to purchase a home that will meet your needs?
• How much could you sell your existing home for? Don’t forget to subtract the agent’s commission from this total.
• What will it cost to move? According to real estate consultant and best-selling author of Remodel or Move, Dan Fritschen, a typical move costs 10% of the value of your home.
• How much will your property taxes increase as a result of the move?
A good local real estate agent should be able to assist you with estimates on these numbers.
• What projects do you want to have done and how much will they cost? An architect or general contractor will be able to assist you with these figures.
• How much will the improvements add to the value of your home, also known as the “payback”? A local real estate agent can assist with this as well.
If the decision about whether to renovate or move were purely a financial one, then it would be quite easy to look at the numbers and come to the right conclusion. However, there are also emotional factors that come into play, and they have a value as well. Let’s consider some examples.
Reasons you may want to move:
• If you relocate to a new neighborhood, your children could attend superior schools.
• You would like to reduce your commute or have better access to local amenities, such as restaurants and shopping.
• You’re not particularly fond of your current neighborhood.
• Your yard is too small, and you cannot expand it.
Reasons you may want to stay and remodel:
• You’re happy with your location. It’s convenient, you love your neighbors, and the schools are either excellent or are not a factor.
• You love the layout of your home.
• All you need is a little more space, and your home will be perfect.
Of course only you know what is truly important for your happiness, so try to use these questions as a starting point. Create a list of the pros and cons of each scenario and leave it someplace accessible, so that you and your spouse can add to it as you think of additional factors. You may also want to consider attending open houses and visiting new housing developments to see what is available and how your home compares.
Once you’ve completed your list and your financial assessment, it’s time to draw some conclusions. Are the numbers and the emotional factors pointing you in a clear direction? If you’re still feeling unsure and would like some additional assistance, you may want to read Dan Fritschen’s book, Remodel or Move, or visit his website at www.remodelormove.com. Both contain a calculator that will assist you with the difficult task of quantifying the ramifications of your decision. In addition, you can learn tips to assist you with the next step, after you’ve determined what it will be.
If you choose to remodel, then you’ll need to have a clear idea of what you want to accomplish before finalizing any details with the contractor or architect. One of the most expensive things you can do is change the project midstream.
If you decide to move, then there are low-cost improvements you can make to your existing home that will help it to sell more quickly. The kitchen and the bathrooms provide the biggest return on investment in this area.
Whether you decide to remodel or buy a new home, it’s important to ensure that you have proper financing in place prior to moving forward. If you decide to purchase a home, a mortgage originator will help you to determine how much you can afford, as well as which loan package works best with your overall financial plan. In the case of remodeling, you should meet with a mortgage professional before any construction takes place. Otherwise you may severely limit the type of financing options available to you.
Remodel or Move?: Make the Right Decision, by Dan Fritschen
Madison, WI – If you’ve been watching the economic news, you’ve probably noticed that market experts and traders have been keeping a close eye on the Commerce Department’s Personal Spending and Personal Income reports. Obviously, those reports provide insight into the health of our economy, but did you know they also influence home loan rates? That’s right, personal spending can actually influence the interest rates that are available when you purchase or refinance a home.
Here’s why. It has to do with something called the velocity of money. Even though the government keeps pumping money into the system, nothing happens until that money is spent or lent – and passes from one hand to another or one business to another. The speed at which this money passes between parties is called the velocity of money.
With the job market still very sluggish, consumers aren’t spending much money these days, and businesses are still reluctant to spend money to make investments in their business. With the present velocity at low levels, inflation remains subdued and that’s good for home loan rates. That’s because rates are tied to Mortgage Bonds and inflation is the archenemy of Bonds, so low inflation is good for Bonds and rates. However, once velocity increases, the excess money in the system will cause inflation – which is bad for rates, since even the slightest scent of inflation can cause home loan rates to worsen.
While we certainly want to see better economic recovery news in the near future, we have to remember that there’s an inverse relationship between good economic news and Bonds and home loan rates. Weak economic news normally causes money to flow out of Stocks and into Bonds, which helps Bonds and home loan rates improve. Strong economic news, on the other hand, normally has the opposite result.
Currently, home loan rates are at a historically low level, but that situation won’t last forever. That means now is an ideal time to purchase a home or refinance before the velocity of money – and rates – change. If you or anyone you know would like to learn more about the current economic situation and how to take advantage of historically low home loan rates, then please contact me by clicking on the contact LINK above