Real estate conditions look good for 2020—mortgage rates are low, prices are stable, values are high, and there are lots of great homes for sale, especially in the Albuquerque area. It’s a great time to buy a home, so it’s no surprise many would-be buyers have decided to make 2020 the year they finally buy!
Is your 2020 New Year’s Resolution to buy a home? Here are 10 simple steps to get you started.
Step 1: Track your spending
First things first. Take a look at your finances. Analyze all the details of your income and spending to determine how much you make versus how much you spend. When taking a closer look at your spending, you might find that you’re spending more in certain areas than you thought—or paying for things you don’t need or have forgotten about.
Step 2: Figure out how much you can afford
While you’re looking at your spending, try and figure out how much you might be willing or able to spend on your mortgage. Don’t forget to include other expenses such as utilities and regular maintenance. If your perusal of your spending found some areas you can cut down on expenses, even better.
Step 3: Get serious about saving
If you aren’t already putting money regularly into a savings account, it’s probably time to start. Though there are a number of loan options in this day and age that don’t require a full 20% down payment, most do require some amount of upfront cash—plus closing costs.
Pro tip: Did you cut down on some monthly expenses? Take the money you were previously spending on that old magazine subscription and put it into your savings account instead. You won’t even miss it!
Step 4: Start talking to lenders
Once you’ve started sorting through your finances, the next step is to get a professional involved. Start by inquiring at banks or credit unions you already work with to see what types of loan options they might be able to offer you. You may also want to ask around for local recommendations, too.
Step 5: Get prequalified
Once you start talking to lenders, they’ll likely want to get you prequalified for a loan. Even if you’re not quite ready to jump into the home search just yet, getting prequalified can be quite helpful. Not only will it ensure that you can qualify for a loan (and there are no red flags), it will also show you how much you qualify for—and even break down your monthly mortgage costs at various home prices.
Step 6: Find an agent
Buying or selling, a real estate agent is an invaluable tool. Agents offer a wealth of knowledge, as well as tools and resources, that will help you find the right home in the right spot at the right price. Not to mention, your agent can make recommendations for local vendors (like inspectors or lenders), can handle all the communication between yourself and the seller, and will walk you step by step through the whole process to ensure nothing is forgotten or overlooked.
By the way: Sellers pay agent commissions, so as a buyer, using an agent is FREE. That’s right. Free.
Step 7: Determine wants and needs
Once you’ve sorted through the financial side of things, you can start thinking about the more fun side—the actual house you’ll be buying. Before you jump into the search, spend some time thinking about what you really want and need in a home. Separate needs (essential must-have deal-breaker features like beds, baths, yard, or location) from wants (things you’d strongly like to have but aren’t 100% required) from likes (bonus features).
Step 8: Start searching
Once you’ve got your list set, use a home search tool (we think ours is pretty exceptional because of how customizable it is) to set criteria based on your wants and needs. You likely won’t be able to get all your wants and needs, so start by searching for homes that only meet your needs. Based on your search results, you may be able to start adding in wants.
Step 9: Make adjustments
What if your search didn’t return anything or you just aren’t seeing a home you like? You might need to reevaluate something. Be careful that you don’t include too many absolute “needs”, and try to refrain from adding “needs” that might be fairly easily or inexpensively updated (like flooring or countertops).
Depending on your needs or preferred location, it’s possible you’ll need to evaluate your budget, too. That might mean cutting more expenses or even pushing back your timeline a bit to give you more time to save.
Step 10: Start the tours!
Now the buying really begins! Once you’ve got your budget and your criteria aligned, it’s time to get serious about searching. Your agent will likely schedule some tours, then circle back with you to get your opinion and work from there.
It’s helpful to take notes or photos as you tour, as homes can start to blend together after a bit, or you might not remember all the details after you leave. And don’t be discouraged if you don’t find the perfect home right away—home searching takes time!
Ready to Buy a Home in Albuquerque?
Ready to start your home search and buy a home in Albuquerque? We’re here to help! Contact the Feils today to learn more about how we can help you get to know the area and find the perfect home in just the right spot.