When your current lease is up in three months? When you realize the youngest child graduates in two years? Or when Retirement is 11 months 2 days and 5 hours from today? Of course, everyone has their own comfort level. Yet truly, there is a lot of value in beginning and understanding the process sooner than later. If you have never purchased or your last purchase was many years ago, chances are there are many nuances that will be good for you to know. Starting early gives you a chance to take on each step without feeling pressure!
First, let’s make sure you feel good about the financial side of buying a home. When is the last time you looked at your financial picture? Now is a great time to sit down with your lender. He or she can help you determine what type of loan works best for you. Did you know there are great plans now that do not require you to put 20% down? At the same time, did you know that FHA loans now require you to carry private mortgage insurance for the life of the loan? Have you considered a bridge loan until you sell your current home? Did I already lose you in the financial side? Suffice it to say, meeting with a lender will help you understand what loans and programs make sense for YOU.
Consider where you want to live. If you have time on your side, you can enjoy exploring those areas that you always dreamed of living in. When you drive the commute, do these still have the same appeal? How far is your ideal area to where your friends or family live now? If your dream of walking to your weekend fun, have you identified which parts of town will and will not work?
Know your market. Starting to look now will give you an idea of what is out there, what homes cost, what condition homes are in, what style appeals to you, and to what extent you are willing to work on a home? A major remodel or just paint and carpet? Seeing homes helps you learn what you like as much as what you don’t like in a home! Knowing your market will make it easier to say “YES!” without question when you find the right home for you!
The good news is you can go at your own speed. Connect with your realtor and your lender so that you can better determine what that is for you. Most of all, knowing what to expect can take the pressure off, and put the Fun back in, the process of finding your next home!
-Kristin Beise, Realtor, RE/MAX Advantage Plus