Buying a Home in the Bay Area
Are you thinking about buying a new home? Whether it’s your first time around or you’ve bought a home before, you may have some questions about buying real estate in today’s market. In this article, we’ll answer a handful of common questions about the home buying process including what to look for, how much to offer, and when you can begin moving in.
What is the First Step to Buying a Home?
The first step that you’ll need to take towards buying your next home is to determine whether or not you can afford it. You may need to pay at least 20 percent of the purchase price as a down payment – so ask yourself if can you afford to invest this much in a new home. You’ll also be paying mortgage payments every month for the next ten or more years. Is your income stable enough to support this?
If you don’t have the 20% down payment, don’t lose hope, as there are options such as FHA loans that require as little as 3.5%, as well as down payment assistance programs that might help you achieve your dreams of homeownership. The important thing is to meet with a loan agent to see what’s possible.
When you have your finances in order and you’re ready to get the process rolling, your next step will be to recruit a real estate agent to help with the buying process.
What Should I Look for in a New Home?
Location – The community that you live in will greatly affect your quality of life, so choose wisely. Some things to consider are proximity to transportation (don’t mind a long commute or want to be close to public transit?), schools if you have children, your tolerance for traffic or airport noise, walkability and more. The other thing to consider about location is the impact it may have on resale value when you’re getting ready to move.
Fixtures and Amenities – What features are important to you in your home? Do you want a fireplace, or are you more of the gardening type? Do you need a large garage so you have room to fix up an old car, or are you more interested in lying on the patio reading a good book? Jot down some of your preferences for items you would like to have in your next home and keep an eye out for them during your viewings.
Size and Layout – How big of a home do you need? Give some thought as to how your dream home would be laid out as well. Identify the “must haves” vs. the “nice-to-haves”, so you can keep your options open, even if a house might not fit the EXACT criteria you’re looking for.
How Much Should I Offer When I’ve Decided to Buy a Home?
When you’ve found the home that you want to purchase the next step is making an offer to the seller. This is one of the areas that your real estate agent can help. When crafting your offer you’ll need to consider factors such as how long the seller has had their home on the market, whether there are multiple bids on the listing, whether you want to test the waters with a lower starting bid, and more. If the asking price is fair and reasonable, you may want to stick with an offer that’s slightly lower. If you feel that there’s little chance the seller can get what they’re asking, you can drop your initial offer to see if it sticks. Work with your real estate agent to decide on a strategy – it’s not enough to just “slap on $100-200K to the asking price”!
If the Home Inspection Reveals Problems with the Property, What Should I Do?
Rest assured that in the vast majority of home inspections there are few instances where problems are found that are serious enough for you to walk away from the deal. In some cases, a seller might be willing to make some minor repairs.
On the other hand, if your inspection does find something serious, you’ll need to decide how you want to move forward. If you are willing to take care of the repairs yourself later, or if you are planning to do work on the house anyway, you may want to negotiate with the seller for some credit on closing costs to help offset those costs. Or, you may need to decide that it makes sense to just walk away.
When Do I Get to Move In?
After you’ve completed your home inspection, finished the appraisal process, finalized all of your mortgage paperwork and completed any of your obligations in the purchase agreement, you’ll be all set to move in.
If you have other questions about the home buying process or if you’re ready to get started with finding that perfect new dream home, contact Perisson Real Estate. Our friendly team of local real estate professionals is happy to answer your questions, consult with you to determine your needs and get viewings booked for properties you’re interested in. We look forward to working with you.