If you want to buy a North Shore home now or in the coming year, start preparing for the home-buying process. There are some things you should avoid doing, and other things you should do, to ensure a successful sale that you won’t regret down the road. As your North Shore real estate agent, I am here to fill you in, so we find you your dream home as soon as possible!
Here’s what NOT to do as a North Shore homebuyer in today’s market:
1. Buy more than you can afford. With home prices increasing, it’s easy to overextend yourself. When you get preapproved for a certain amount from a mortgage lender, that doesn’t mean you should spend that much. Go over your finances and determine how much income you bring in after taxes. Then calculate how much your monthly mortgage payment will be with taxes, insurance, etc.
2. Not consider all of the costs involved. It’s pretty easy to determine a down payment amount based on the price of a home. For example, 20 percent in a perfect world, or 10, 5 or even 3 percent, depending on what type of mortgage loan you’re getting. But on top of that, you need to consider the closing costs, HOA fees if there are some, and an emergency fund for after the purchase.
3. Not consider your lifestyle. When choosing a new location to live in, many buyers only consider the home itself and not the surroundings. If you love the bustle of the city, is there entertainment in walking distance? If you want quiet suburban living, are you far enough away from busy streets? If you have kids or dogs, are there sidewalks and parks in walking distance?
4. Fail to shop around for a mortgage loan. You could save a lot of money by shopping around for a mortgage loan. If you apply for a mortgage with multiple lenders within a certain window, usually two weeks, the hard pulls on your credit will only count as one pull. So, it’s definitely worth it to see who gives you the lowest rate. Also, pay attention to what fees are involved.
Here’s what you should do as a North Shore homebuyer:
1. Work with a trusted real estate agent. In today’s market, you need an agent who understands the local North Shore real estate market, so they can help you find the houses that best match your needs, and they can help you craft a winning offer in a competitive market.
2. Finalize a budget and a must-haves list. Doing these two things will help narrow your home search, so you only spend time looking at homes that meet your criteria. It’s a fast-moving market, the sooner you visit a new listing and make an offer, the better your chances are of having your offer accepted.
3. Understand your competition. When making an offer, understand that you may find yourself in a bidding war, and that sellers are in control. Get preapproved before house hunting, and shop below your price point, in case you enter a bidding war and need to go above asking price.
When ready to achieve your real estate goals in Glencoe, Winnetka, Highland Park, Deerfield, Northbrook, Lake Forest, Wilmette, Evanston, Glenview, Riverwoods, Bannockburn, or other North Shore communities, contact me! As your North Shore real estate agent, I am here to help make your home-buying goals a reality. Mortgage rates are at record lows right now, so don’t wait! Give me a call with questions or to get started.