- Get lender pre-approval. Dive deep with your lender. Make your approval contingent only upon identification of property and most recent pay-stubs They will continue to watch your accounts until close, but don't put off getting them the paperwork they need to make the decision prior to beginning your search. This means everything--tax records, pay stubs, account information--all of it!
- Understand your position. This ties closely to item #1. Many homes are selling for over market price right now. If you have decided to buy a home around $500,000, what will your position be if it escalates to $525,000? Are you still in or will you walk away? Are you pre-approved to go over your target amount and do you want to? This can be very stressful if you haven't thought it through in advance.
- Look at neighborhoods in advance. Don't have your first time seeing a property be the first time you've looked at the neighborhood. Decisions have to be made quickly in this market. Do your research up front! Check out schools, check out commutes, check out crime. Know in advance whether or not a neighborhood will work for you. If you do that, then you are just picking a house!
- Be ready to jump when your Realtor calls! Things are moving fast and there aren't enough properties for all of the buyers. You might have to skip your spinning class, or even pop out of work, if a property comes on the market. It is a bummer, but don't make the mistake by waiting to see a property that checks all your boxes. By the time you get there, it might be too late.
- Be flexible with your offer. Don't demand that you must have a July 15 closing because of your lease. Find out what the seller wants and meet their needs. If they need toclose on June 20, you might need to have some overlap with your purchase and your lease (which can be a great thing, actually). Conversely, if they need to close on June 20 and your lease ends May 31, you should consider putting your stuff in storage and find a temporary living situation. Just remember--keep your eye on the prize, it will be worth a couple of weeks of pain to win your new home!
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