Let's start with what we know. According to Realtor.com, at the end of 2016, unemployment was down to 4.6% (the lowest since 2007), consumer confidence was at the highest it's been since 2007 and the home values across the nation had recovered. So, at it's basics, by the end of 2016 we were employed, confident and ready to buy a house.
Now, it's 2017 and the ideal scenerio that we had at the end of 2016 is changing. Mortgage rates have skyrocketed and the inventory of homes for sale is much lower. If you are planning on purchasing a home in 2017 you should do it quickly and efficiently. Get your ducks in row to ensure that this purchase moves along seamlessly.
Here are a few things that you can do to help with this endeavor:
- Be prepared for the down payment. Typically the recommended down payment to purchase a home is 20%. If the home you are looking at is $200,000, the downpayment is $20,000 in cash. That's a huge chunk of change to come up with. It takes a bit of perseverence to save that kind of money. One idea to help with the savings is to start an automatic deduction in your checking account. Put aside a certain amount of money each paycheck into a separate savings account for your down payment.
- Check your credit score. Clean up your credit and keep it clean! Depending on the type of loan that you are applying for and how much of down payment that you have, your credit score is very important when looking to purchase a home. Lenders want to see proof that you've paid off past debts. One little trick is to not use more than 30% of your available credit and always..always (did I say "always"?) make your payments on time.
- Start your house hunting now. Spring is right around the corner and that is the busiest real estate time of the year. Home buying becomes very competitive in the spring, it is known as "Real Estate Season". With the mortgage rates expected to continue to rise throughout the year, purchasing your home early could be truly beneficial in the long run.
- Find a real estate professional that you trust to help you with buying your new home. Having a voice on your side that knows what you are looking for and has your best interest at heart is invaluable when making one of the largest purchases that you are ever going to make.
Knowing what is in store for you when purchasing a home, can be a time saver and can allow you to purchase that dream home in no time at all.