Buying a Home
10 tips for making a wise purchase
10 TIPS FOR MAKING A WISE REAL ESTATE PURCHASE (AND HOW I WILL HELP):
Budget first. Decide on what you can realistically afford to spend on your housing expense before you get your heart set on a property. The last thing you want is to fall in love with a home that is out of your price range, or even worse, sign a mortgage on a property that is beyond what you want to spend, even if the bank approves that amount. Not knowing what you are comfortable spending on housing can lead to disappointment, stress, and even financial disaster. Get your Middle Tennessee home purchase off to a good start by knowing how much home you can afford and sticking to that. From Murfreesboro to Nashville, Smyrna to Christiana, there’s a home out there for every budget!
- I won’t push you to spend beyond your budget.
- I will help you find the right home for you within your budget and other needs.
- When we are considering homes, I will always share my analysis and opinion of the property and list price, and I will tell you if I think it is overpriced.
Know where you stand with lenders. There are some excellent local mortgage lenders who know the local markets in Rutherford, Davidson, Williamson, Wilson, and surrounding Tennessee counties. Lenders will look at your credit score, work history, down payment, and other factors when making a lending decision. They will consider your debt to income ratio, and will generally allow for 28% of your monthly gross (before taxes and other withholding) income for housing expenses, and a maximum of 36% of your monthly gross income for all debt. If your household’s gross monthly income is $5,000, the lender would allow $1,400 for total housing payments (principle, interest, and insurance) and $1,800 for total debt payments, including housing.
- I will recommend several lenders who will offer the best products for your personal situation.
- As with all of my recommendations, I have no affiliation with any of the professionals that I recommend. I receive nothing in exchange for making referrals to mortgage lenders, inspectors, builders, etc. You can rest assured that when I recommend someone, it is only in your best interest and because I believe that they are the right person for the job.
- I will direct you to credit reporting resources and advise you on ways to enter the homebuying market wisely, without unnecessarily doing damage to your credit.
Understand your financing options. Most people finance their real estate purchases, so explore your financing options. Whether low monthly payments, low money down, or a quick payoff are your goals, there is a product out there for you. Shop around for a mortgage – there are lots of options.
- I will help you find a banker or mortgage broker who can help.
- My first recommendations will be local lenders – someone here in Middle TN that you can meet with face to face and who will be there to help get you the right financing for your dream home.
Get pre-approved before you start shopping. This puts you in a very strong position as a buyer by reassuring sellers that you have the financial resources already lined up to purchase their home. This also keeps you on track by shopping for houses that are within your budget – meaning that we make the best use of our time in working to find a home that is suitable for you.
- I am serious about finding you a home – and I want to know that we are spending our time wisely.
- I will direct you to lenders who can provide you with a pre-approval letter.
- I will work with your lender so that we can present the strongest offers possible.
Know what you want and what you need. Some features are non-negotiable; other features may be so attractive that we would be willing to make compromises in other areas just to get what we want. Do you want 4 bedrooms but would settle for 3 if the neighborhood were more convenient? Do you absolutely need a 3-car garage, or would a 2-car and extra parking work if the home also had a “man cave”? Is a fenced in yard an option, or a must?
- I will find the home of your dreams if it is anywhere in Middle Tennessee, as long as I know what that looks like.
- I will ask questions and get to know your wants and needs, and I will show you the houses that meet your needs.
Know the market. This is another area where I can really help you. “The market” is local – even down to the neighborhood – so understanding the market value of a property requires understanding what properties in the area have been selling for in recent weeks.
- I will always negotiate according to your best interests and instructions.
- I will teach you about the local buying and selling trends, how quickly things are moving, and how best to approach and negotiate with local sellers.
- I will help you understand the local real estate market. Smyrna, Murfreesboro, Brentwood, Franklin – each has its own style and feel.
Spy out the area. Use your own eyes and ears to get to know the areas that you are interested in. Drive through at times that are critical to you. Does your regular commute put you on the road at a certain time? Make the drive from the neighborhood you are considering at that time. Do you expect things to be quiet in the evenings? Check it out in the evenings.
- I will give you my professional opinion of the neighborhood, but no one can know better than you do whether or not the area is a good fit for your needs.
Ignore the “Zestimate”. Websites that offer estimates of property values are never going to be as accurate as a personally prepared CMA – Comparative Market Analysis – prepared by a real estate professional who knows the local market. Don’t believe me? Take a look at this Wall Street Journal article: “How Accurate is Zillow’s Zestimate? Not Very…” and my blog posts on the Zestimate accuracy in Middle TN.
- I will research and recommend a price range to offer for the home you have your sights on.
- My advice will take into account the most recent sales in the neighborhood, the trends in the area, the features and current condition of the property, the other homes on the market – all things that are ignored by estimate websites.
Get an inspection. A home inspection can reveal defects or issues with a home that might otherwise have gone unnoticed. Why wouldn’t you want an eagle-eyed and unbiased inspector to alert you to any issues of a property before you commit to buying it? The money you pay for an inspection might save you much more in surprises, repairs, or in negotiated savings later on.
- I will point out any potential issues that I notice.
- I will recommend a professional home inspector to check out the property from top to bottom.
- I will recommend a contractor to review the distressed properties in obvious disrepair
- I will do a “hands on” review of the inspection report and/or the contractor's report with you
Don’t procrastinate. Mortgage rates remain near all-time lows. In the Middle Tennessee area, home inventory is also very low. New houses are coming on the market every day, but they go quickly. Offers are often being submitted within days of a house going on the market. This means that if you find a home you like, it might be sold if you wait to put in your offer. When interest rates rise, you may find that you can no longer afford as much house as you could when interest rates were lower.
- I will help you find your dream home – so let’s get started!
For more information, see:
- “10 Essential Questions to Ask When Buying a Home (That You May Have Missed)” Realtor.com
- “Home Buying Tips That Will Give You an Edge” Forbes
- “Buying a home: Buyer’s guide” CNN Money
- “How to Buy a Home the Money-Smart Way” Dave Ramsey
The information on this website is for the education of my clients and customers, and is believed to be up-to-date, accurate, and reliable. Statements and opinions are for information purposes only, and are not legal, financial, or medical advice.
As your licensed real estate professional, I will give you the information and advice that you need. I cannot make decisions for you, but I can and will do my best to help you make informed decisions.