Know what you can afford to spend on a monthly mortgage taking into account all your monthly expenses. Keep in mind you will need a down payment and money for closing costs and other fees such as a home inspection.
You could order a Credit Report ahead of time to be sure your credit is in good standing. Be sure to review it for mistakes and issues.
Try to resolve these matters so when the mortgage company pulls your report these will no longer be issues. Credit scores are important as they determine what your interest rate will be.
You will need to choose a mortgage broker or bank and get
Pre-approved. Most sellers today will not entertain an offer from
a buyer who has not been pre-approved. Some don’t even won’t to have their time wasted by showing their home to someone who
has not been pre-approved. They won’t see you as a serious buyer. A seller may feel that a serious buyer would already have started the mortgage process so as not to waste time or loose out on a house they love because the didn’t take the first step to home ownership!
You will need to supply the mortgage company with, employment info, check stubs for wages, savings, CD, 401K’s, tax returns, etc. You will need to supply them with your current debt info such as car payments, credit card debt, outstanding loans, etc. It would be wise to have a folder together with all this information prior to sitting down with a mortgage broker.
The Mortgage broker or bank will discuss your loan options which will help in determining what you will need for a down payment.
Find an agent: Once you have decided to buy a home it’s time to choose your Real Estate Agent. Choosing an agent who is the best fit for you is important. You want someone who you feel comfortable with, someone you feel is trustworthy, someone who will do the best job for you. You need someone who listens to your wants and needs, one you feel will be able to negotiate on your behalf and advise you. This is one of the biggest decisions of your life you shouldn’t have to worry about whether your agent is doing their best for you. Keep in mind the agent with the most experience isn’t necessarily the best choice for you. You can always ask for referrals.
First thing you need to know: Where do you want to live? Narrow it down, check out the crime for the area you are interested in, get the local paper and review their police and fire log. Go to the police station and ask what the crime level is in the neighborhoods you are interested in. Ask about sex offenders in those areas. If you have children that are school age or are planning on having children, go on line and Google school ratings to see how the school system is rated.
Put a list together with your need to haves, such as how many bedrooms, bathrooms, garage under or attached, private lot, big yard, etc... Also put a list together of your nice to haves, such as an in-ground pool, master suite with sitting area and large walk-in closet, office, finished basement, etc... Put them in the order of importance to you.
Once you find your home, make an offer, and have it accepted, you are in contract and on your way to being a home owner! Send your signed contract (purchase and sale agreement) over to your mortgage broker so he/she can schedule an appraisal and get the wheels in motion. You will need to schedule a home inspection (your agent will most likely have a list she can supply you with). You will have to choose a Title Attorney to do the title work and closing. The mortgage company has a list of approved attorneys for you to choose from, however, this doesn’t mean you can’t choose an attorney who has been recommended to you or that you have used in the past. You will just need to advise the Mortgage Broker so she can get the appropriate information from your attorney to get approval for him/her to do the closing.
After inspections, agreements and approvals it’s time for the closing! Make sure you have your driver’s license, and bank check, for any funds you need to bring to closing. Please be sure and have the check made payable to yourself. They attorney will have you sign it over at closing. The reason they do it this way, is just in case there are any issues... you will have your funds.
Before calling a Realtor, know what your mortgage payoff will be;
Remember the fees you will incur when you sell, such as Tax Stamps (Tax stamps are based on the purchase price @ 15.00 per thousand, divided equally between buyer and seller in NH); Commission to Brokers; fee to attorney for Deed preparation; recording fees for documents at the Registry such as Mortgage Discharge, and attorney’s fee if you choose to hire one.
Pricing: Based on mortgage payoff and fees involved in selling your home, this will give you an idea of where you need to price your home. You could also hire your own appraiser to see where you house would appraise. Most buyers need a mortgage to buy your home and their mortgage company will get an appraisal to assist them in determining what they can loan a buyer to purchase your home. What your house appraises for isn’t necessarily what it will sell for. Keep in mind pricing your home to high can cause it to sit on the market too long and become stale.
Check out other houses on the market in your area to get an idea of what they are selling for.
Find an agent: Once you have decided to sell, choosing an agent who is the best fit for you is important. You want someone who you feel comfortable with, someone you feel is trustworthy, someone who will do the best job for you. You need someone who understands your needs and what is important to you during the selling experience, from the pricing and marketing of your home to negotiating the purchase and sale agreement. Remember, the agent who gives you the highest listing price or the lowest commission rate does not mean they are the best choice. You can also ask for referrals.
Prepare your home: If there are any repairs that need to be made take care of those items prior to listing. If you are nervous that there are some repairs that may need to be made that you are unaware of, you could have your own home inspection done. A home inspection would allow you the time to get those repairs done, if any, prior to showing your home. Buyers will want to do their own but if you are ahead of the game with repairs you may be able to avoid buyers looking for Seller Concessions as a result of repairs that need to be done.
- Paint if needed - I always suggest neutral colors and then add pops of color with accessories such as pillows, throws, vases and prints.
- Have carpets cleaned and hardwood floors refinished if needed.
- Do a thorough cleaning including woodwork and light fixtures. This is HUGE. I cannot stress enough the importance of a clean, fresh smelling home. A house that is not clean and does not smell nice... is unappealing to a potential buyer. Kitchens and bathrooms should be spotless!
- De-clutter by removing items you can live without by taking out pieces of furniture that make the space feel cramped (less is more!). Clean out and organize closets, pantries and cabinets. Pack up anything you can live without!
- De-personalize! If you have walls and tables with lots of family pictures... pack them away. Buyers want to see themselves living there, not your family.
- You could also hire a Home Stager to help you with staging your home for showings.
This is sometimes difficult, but this is where you need to set your mind in business mode....think of selling your home as just business. You need to sell this so you can move on to the next chapter!
Curb appeal: The outside is as important as the inside. If you don’t want buyers to drive right by make sure the outside looks FANTASTIC! Paint if need be, be sure steps are in good condition, lawn is kept mowed, shrubs trimmed, flowers for pops of color and PLEASE no fake flowers in your window boxes or pots!
Try to be flexible with showings times so as not to loose a potential buyer.
Remember not to show your emotions in front of prospective buyers. You don’t want them to think they have the advantage!
Here are a couple of articles that offer information and statistics on Home Staging (cost of staging and return on your investment) and the top 12 home improvements with the return on your investment). Great information!