5 Tips for Buying a Home

Looking to buy a home? These five essential tips will help make the process as smooth as possible.

Start with your credit report

You’ll need a full picture of your current credit profile; it’s easy to obtain your complete credit report (more information here) so you can review and ensure all the information is correct. If there are any major mistakes, you’ll need to get them fixed immediately.

I highly recommend you work with a local lender who knows our market’s properties and how to set up a transaction that avoids a pitfall that might catch a “Big Bank” off guard at the eleventh hour. Please, ask me for a recommendation on Bainbridge Island.

Once the lender has your information, they’ll be able to write an approval letter to submit with an offer. In this market, having or not having this letter can be the deciding factor in a multiple offer situation.

When you find the house you just can’t live without, having taken these steps will ensure the best possible position so you may impress the seller and, more importantly, their agent.

Know what you can afford

There’s a general rule of thumb when it comes to financing a home: buy one that’s two-and-a-half times your annual salary. It’s also important to annually budget approximately 1% of the home’s value for maintenance. Don’t forget that there are many considerations beyond sticker price, including property taxes, utility costs, etc.

This is an important factor to work out early; please contact me for a recommendation on personal finance advisors if you want to talk to a professional about your personal budget.

Hire a professional you can trust

Even at this stage in the information age, the home buying process still requires a level of expertise you can’t pick up from surfing the web. You’re better off working with a professional that knows Bainbridge properties than going at it alone or with an agent from outside our area.

Chemistry is key: work with an agent who will have your interests at heart, is a skilled listener, understands your needs and is a creative and savvy negotiator that can craft and present the best offer. I’ll gladly share with you an example where I used a “Right of First Refusal” on a neighboring lot to be the single term that won my client the house against four other buyers. Negotiating isn’t always about money, and this is where I can help, as I know the right questions to ask.

Make sure your offer is realistic

Before making an offer, let’s analyze the local market. Is it a seller’s or buyer’s market? What does inventory look like? How long are homes typically for sale before going under contract? Are there more homes in your price range expected to come on the market soon? Where are things headed? As your local area expert, I know the neighborhoods, the local data and the trends. Let’s use my insight to come up with an offering price that’s suited well for the circumstances.

Think long term

It’s obvious that for financial reasons, it’s best to buy and own the home for more than 5 years. Beyond that, consider the advantage of buying a home with good schools nearby; I’m glad to share what I know about the high quality of our schools after working in them for almost a decade. Whether you have children or not, this can have an impact on your home’s resale value down the line. When it comes to the house itself, it’s always best to hire a local home inspector who knows this market and can point out potential problems that could require costly repairs in the future. And if your dreams require improving property with the input of an architect or designer, I’m glad to recommend one.

Have questions about buying a home on Bainbridge Island? Contact me, I’m here to help: jason@mrshutt.com or call or text me on Bainbridge at 206-399-3641.

Copyright 2016