Posted by Betsy Graziano on 7/9/2018

Buying a house is never a simple decision. Aside from all of the financial aspects of purchasing a home, there are numerous life-related considerations youíll need to think about. So, it comes as little surprise that diving head on into the house hunting process can be stressful and taxing to the home buyer.

With all of the different numbers to keep track of--a down payment, closing costs, credit scores, interest rates, and so on--itís easy to get lost in the finer details of your budget. This can lead to even more stress as you try to navigate your way through getting approved for a mortgage and shopping for the perfect home.

In this article, weíre going to give you some tips on how to maintain your budget and reduce stress throughout the home buying process. That way, when you do finally find the house youíve been waiting for, youíll be able to move forward confidently.

Trust the process

Many first-time home buyers enter the real estate market with little knowledge or experience of how things work. Any newcomer to such a huge and complex industry is bound to be flustered with all of the different options available to them.

However, much of the home buying process is relatively standardized. Real estate agents all make roughly the same commission, lenders use similar algorithms to decide how much of a loan youíll be approved for, and real estate contracts contain legal safeguards and contingencies to ensure that you and the sellerís interests are protected.

When shopping for a mortgage or getting pre-approved, itís a good idea to ask friends, family, or read reviews online to find someone you know you can trust. From there, rely on the experts to lead you through the process.

Have a long-term plan

Much of the stress and anxiety around buying a home comes from the uncertainty of the future. Sitting down with your family and significant other and deciding your long-term goals for homeownership is a good way to build confidence and know that youíre making the right choice.

Determining things like location, the number of years you want to live in a home, and what priorities are the most important (school districts, neighborhood safety, etc.) will help you make that plan a reality.

Use the tools at your disposal

If youíre reading this article, you already have started to take advantage of one of the most important resources you have, the internet. Look up real estate terminology youíre unfamiliar with, read up on the different types of mortgages, and take advantage of free online calculators to create what-if scenarios to find out what you might end up paying in closing costs and interests.

Itís also a good idea to check your credit score for free online. You can check your official reports once per year, but for simple credit checks you can look it up each month for free.

Knowing that youíre in good hands with a lender and agent, that you have a basic understanding of industry terms, that you have a long-term plan, and that your finances are in order will all help set your mind at ease and give you confidence as you move forward toward homeownership.





Posted by Betsy Graziano on 7/2/2018

Searching for a new house that will meet your needs without breaking your budget can sometimes feel overwhelming! There are dozens of factors to consider and countless details to handle at any point in time.

Fortunately, there are strategies for getting it all done, maintaining your sanity, and being satisfied with the final outcome.

If you feel like you're getting off track (or can't even find the train station), here are a few tips for getting organized:

Create a priority list. If you haven't clarified and discussed with your spouse what you want and what's important to both of you, then there's a good chance you won't get it. You do not have to go it alone, though! A top-notch real estate agent can help you create a working list of priorities and preferences that you can use as a measuring stick when evaluating homes for sale. Better still, once you develop this list with your agent, he or she will have the information they need to efficiently locate properties that conform to your wish list and requirements. Your priority list will be based on a lot of criteria, including your desired lifestyle, the size of your family, and proximity to good schools, recreation, and shopping centers. If may also be important to you to live within a short drive to work, childcare facilities, or houses of worship. One of the best ways to organize your wants and needs is to get a copy of a homebuyers' "wish list" from your Realtor or the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). Key factors to consider when developing your list may include items like architectural style, the amount of remodeling you're prepared to do, and the size of the yard. Privacy, space between neighboring houses, and distance from busy highways are also important factors to weigh.

Choose the right real estate agent: The ideal way to find a real estate agent you'll be pleased with is to get recommendations from family, friends, and trusted business associates. If someone you know well has had a favorable experience with a specific real estate agent, chances are good that your experience would be similar. Since most real estate agents value referrals, a smart agent will strive to make a positive impression on both you and the person who referred you. It's often advisable to talk with more than one real estate agent before making your final decision, though. That way you'll be in a position to compare qualities like experience, knowledge, personality, rapport, and energy level. It's vitally important that you feel comfortable with the agent you decide to work with, and that they're responsive to your questions, concerns, and requirements.

While a "wish list" and a "must have" list are essential components of a successful real estate search, the process unfolds much more smoothly when you remain open minded, flexible, and realistic.