The new year is here, and we’re toasting some very good news on the homebuying front. Mortgage rates have come down into the “sixes,” and that means more homebuyers will be leaning in and looking for a place to call home in 2024.
If you’re one of those buyers, we recommend spending the next few weeks getting ready – homing in on your finances, goals, preferences, and next steps to ensure you’re prepared when the right house comes along. And don’t worry, we’ve got your back every step of the way.
#1. Build Your Homebuying Team
The first step is to assemble a carefully selected team of professionals to make your home-buying experience smooth and successful.
Start with an @properties Christie’s International Real Estate agent. Our job involves much more than simply guiding your home search – although we do that too. We are also hands-on advisors, throughout the process, helping you weigh the pros and cons of different listings and locations; providing expert negotiations; connecting you to an extensive network of service providers and vendors, such as home inspectors, real estate attorneys, contractors and movers; managing the many steps between contract and closing; and serving as a resource for as long as you own your home.
If you’re financing your purchase, your @properties Christie’s International Real Estate agent will also connect you with a loan officer. Our in-house mortgage lender, Proper Rate, works closely with @properties Christie’s International Real Estate agents and clients, ensuring the homebuying journey is as simple and seamless as possible. Backed by one of the largest mortgage banks in the country, Proper Rate offers the most competitive interest rates as well as loan products for all types of residential real estate, from single-family homes to condominiums to investment property.
#2. Understand Your Financial Big Picture
With your homebuying team in place, the next step is to dive into your finances. Typically, this process starts with a loan application and mortgage pre-approval. Your mortgage lender will give you a sense of how much home you can afford based on factors such as your credit score, down payment amount, earnings, assets, liabilities and more. Keep in mind that one size never fits all when it comes to home loans. Different types of mortgages cater to different buyers’ ownership timelines, down payment savings, monthly budgets and risk tolerance, so don’t be afraid to ask questions, share concerns, and lean on your team’s expertise to find the right loan for you.
Your lender may also help you find and qualify for unique loan programs not already on your radar. Military veterans, doctors, educators, public servants, and even first-time buyers, for example, may have some lesser-known mortgage options worth exploring.
#3. Build a Realistic Budget
Even if you have down payment funds in the bank, it’s important to think beyond day one. Especially if you’re renting, it’s essential to understand the real costs of owning a home – everything from moving to furnishing your new home to care and upkeep to utilities.
Work with your agent to help build a realistic budget. Remember, they work with new homebuyers all the time and know what’s involved in owning different types of property. Lean on their experience and insights to ensure you’re planning correctly.
And if you need more time to save up for your down payment, check out these simple strategies for accelerating your savings in the New Year.
#4. Research Your Top Spots
Your dream team is assembled, and you’ve assessed your current and future financial picture. Now, the fun part begins — it’s time to think about where you could land.
As you’re hitting open houses or exploring towns and communities on your must-see list, take it all in. Choosing the right location is about more than just the house. Work with your agent to weigh factors like local amenities, commute times, schools, plus access to favorite restaurants, hobbies, workouts – whatever is important to you. Because at the end of the day, you can renovate a house – but you can’t renovate a neighborhood. Find one you love, then dive into your home search.
Buying a home is a journey that requires careful planning and preparation. Start now, with the right people in place, and you’ll be ready to make the leap in 2024.
Get in touch to schedule a call with an @properties agent and start exploring the possibilities.