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Deciding to Buy


Are You Ready, Willing, & Able? Buying a home is undoubtedly high on the list of life-changing events, and it is likely to be one of the largest financial transactions you will ever make. It is a decision that should be made thoughtfully and prudently, whether this is your first purchase, or you are an experienced buyer. Before you decide to buy, determine your “Why.” Why do you want to buy a home or an investment property? Then consider if you are Ready (emotionally and mentally), Willing (of your own choice and not of circumstance), and Able (credit and financially prepared) to own. Having a clear sense of Why begins the homebuying journey and aids in determining how best to get there.

Yes! Credit, Interest Rates, and Savings. If you have excellent credit (781-850+), you are ahead of the game and should easily qualify for a loan. If your credit is less than stellar (500-660), your priority should be to clean your credit up and raise your score before beginning your home-buying journey! Buyers are entitled to a free credit report annually through each of the credit bureaus. You may call, write a letter, or order your free report online and receive it instantly. Once received, review the report carefully and immediately report any inaccuracies to the reporting bureau. If you have late payments or a 30+ day delinquency with any creditor(s), call the creditor, and try to work out a resolution – make payment arrangements or pay the account in full. Currently, a 580-640 score may qualify for a loan, but the interest rate will be higher, because the loan is considered mid-high risk. Tip: The higher the score, the better the rate. SAVE! Save as much as possible. Even if you qualify for downpayment assistance, you may still have to contribute to closing costs, and you will certainly need funds to turn on utilities, as well as other miscellaneous expenses. Tip: Make NO large purchases or take on any additional credit until after you close, and the keys are in your hand.

Criteria. What do I want? Create a list of criteria. Consider: location, type of property (single-family, townhome, or condominium), style (traditional, transitional, modern/contemporary, rustic, etc.), as well as neighborhood/area amenities. Next decide on must-haves, such as a large kitchen and number of bedrooms and bathrooms, and deal breakers i.e., foundation issues, on a main street, or too far from the office. Once you have compiled your list, try to stick to it as closely as possible, but also consider comprise, as needed, i.e., it may not have three bedrooms, but it has an office.

Housing availability. Granted you have heard about or are aware of continued rising housing costs. We are not here to sugarcoat the current housing market; it’s expensive; however, it is still a good time to buy. Why? According to the National Association of REALTORS® 2023-2024 housing forecast, “Home buyers are faced with limited choices, higher home prices and higher mortgage rates. But they may find some relief soon: Mortgage rate increases may be mostly over, and that would bode well for home-buying.” (Lawrence Yun, NAR’s chief economist, May 2023) Also, if inventory remains low and housing forecasts are correct, prices will continue to increase for the near future. Tip: Do not shy away from transitional areas. Check the county/city websites to see what is happening in the area. If major grocery and big box retailers are opening or are nearby, it’s a good bet, new housing construction, rehabs, and an increase in prices will follow.

Contact us today to inquire. We are here to help you.

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