5 New Year’s Resolutions for First Time Homebuyers
Date: January 3, 2019
Winter might not be prime time homebuying season, but that doesn’t mean you can’t start laying the groundwork for buying a new home in 2019. If you’re thinking of buying a West Chester or Liberty Township house for sale this year, there’s plenty of things you can be doing now to get ready.
Here are 5 New Year’s Resolutions for those looking to land their West Chester or Liberty Township dream home this year.
Pay off all your credit card debt.
Have you racked up a bit of credit card debt this holiday season? Now is the time to start plugging away at those bills! When the time comes to start shopping around for a mortgage, you’ll be amazed to see how credit card debt can factor into the interest rate you qualify for. In order to make buying a West Chester or Liberty Township home for sale more affordable, you’ll want to get the lowest interest rate possible. So do yourself a favor: start paying off your credit card debt now so you’re free and clear (or as close as possible) when it comes time to get a mortgage on your dream home.
Start interviewing real estate agents.
Not all real estate agents are created equally. Some are definitely more responsive to their clients’ needs than others, and some know the local market better than others. Now is a good time to start interviewing real estate agents so when the time comes, you’re ready to hit the ground running with your home search. You’ll want to find a West Chester and Liberty Township real estate agent that has been working in this market for years – someone who really understands the nuances of different neighborhoods, someone who is well versed in recent sales and who can analyze comps on your behalf.
Remember: it usually costs you, as the buyer, nothing to hire a real estate agent. The commission is typically paid by the seller. So not only do you have nothing to lose by hiring a real estate agent, but you can have your pick of the litter – so do your due diligence now and find someone who will able to meet your specific needs.
Set a realistic budget.
When shopping for West Chester and Liberty Township houses for sale, it’s important to have a strong grasp of what you’re realistically able to spend on a home. The last thing you want is to waste your time looking at homes that you won’t be able to afford. Worse yet, you don’t want to stretch yourself so thin that you struggle to pay the mortgage each month.
You (and your spouse, family, etc. if someone is buying the home with you) should spend some time doing a look back at your last 6 months of living expenses to determine what you can afford each month. How much is left to pay for a mortgage? Be sure to leave plenty of cushion each month for incidentals that inevitable arise when owning a West Chester or Liberty Township property. A good rule of thumb: never spend more than 30% of your total household income on the sum of all your housing-related expenses (mortgage, taxes, insurance, utilities) each month.
Narrow down your list of “must haves”.
Once you’ve set a realistic budget, start to narrow down your list of “must haves”. This will help you prioritize homes as you begin your search for a West Chester or Liberty Township home for sale. While it would be great to have 5 bedrooms, 5 bathrooms, a chef’s kitchen, a whirlpool tub in the master bedroom, an in-ground pool, a great room with gas fireplace and three car garage – the fact of the matter is these amenities all add up! Determine what you can sacrifice in the short-term in order to make your home more affordable in the long-term. For instance, you might decide that you can overlook laminate countertops for now and once you’ve had a chance to save up, you can replace them with granite of your choosing. One of the joys of homeownership is being able to customize your home over time!
Hone in on the neighborhoods you like best.
It will make your home search so much easier if you know which West Chester and Liberty Township neighborhoods you like best. Then you can cross reference your budget to determine whether you can realistically afford to live in those neighborhoods. Not sure which neighborhoods are best for you? Spend some time driving through each – both during the day and at night. Talk to the locals. Get to know what amenities are available. Research the local schools. And of course, ask your West Chester or Liberty Township real estate agent for advice!
2019 is poised to be another strong year for the West Chester and Liberty Township real estate market. If you’re thinking of buying a home this year, do yourself a favor by laying the groundwork now. These five New Year’s Resolutions will put you on the path to homeownership in no time!
Ready to get started? Give us a call today. As the top real estate agents serving West Chester and Liberty Township, OH, we’d be happy to have a no-obligation chat about the steps you can be taking now to prepare to buy a home this year!