Smith & Smith Realty Inc.'s Blog
If you’re a dog lover, you’re probably going to want to move into a community that caters to your love of animals. As you cruise different communities to find just the right place to live, there are a few things that you should be on the lookout for if you want your pooch to feel at home as well.
You See A Lot Of Dogs Around
This may seem obvious, but it’s something to be aware of on your home search. If you see a lot of dogs, you know that the people in your neighborhood are supportive of dogs. If there doesn’t seem to be too many four-legged friends running around, then maybe the community won’t be as receptive to your own pet. You would hate to move into a home, only to find out that your neighbors really don’t like dogs. This could be a sign of future problems in the neighborhood.
You See Dogs At The Parks Nearby
If you are riding around a community, exploring, and see plenty of dogs at the park, or even better, a dog park, you’ll know that you have chosen a good place to live. This shows that dogs are welcome in the area. If there’s a playground nearby, but many “no dogs allowed” signs, you could be in a place where dogs aren’t welcome many places. You want to feel that your dog is welcome especially in outdoor spaces.
There Are Facilities For Dogs Nearby
If you can easily find a groomer, a vet, and a pet supply store nearby, you know that you’re in a good place for your dog. You can see that there’s a community surrounding you that cares about animals. These types of facilities allow you to keep your pet healthy, clean, and happy. You may even have easier access to other important things for you and your dogs like pet sitters, dog walkers, and more.
You Can Find Plenty Of Walking Paths
If you love to walk, you’ll probably be looking for this feature in a neighborhood anyways, but walking paths are a good sign that dogs are welcome in a place. You need sidewalks, places without a lot of traffic, and perhaps some trails to help keep your dog active and healthy. Dogs will also love exploring new places often to keep their keen senses in check.
Look At Local Establishments
If you stop into local coffee shops or restaurants and see dogs there, you definitely know for sure that you have chosen a great community for dog lovers. This is a sign that dogs are a part of everyday life, accepted, welcome, and almost required! Pets are a part of the family in a community like this. Your new home will not only be great for you but for your beloved pet as well.
If you want to quickly find and acquire your dream house, it generally is beneficial to narrow your property search. Because if you focus on available homes in a select group of cities and towns, you may be able to speed up the process of buying your ideal residence.
Now, let's take a look at three tips to help you locate your dream home.
1. Consider Your Short and Long-Term Aspirations
Think about where you want to be in the next few years. Then, you can map out your home search based on your short- and long-term goals.
For instance, if you currently work in a big city and intend to stay with your company for many years, you may want to search for a residence in the city itself. Or, if you plan to start a family soon, you may want to focus on houses near parks and schools.
You should try to be flexible as you begin a home search too. Remember, even the best-laid plans won't necessarily come to fruition. But if you maintain flexibility, you could find a home that will suit you perfectly both now and in the future.
2. Create a Budget
The homes in large cities tend to be more expensive than those in small towns. Fortunately, if you craft a homebuying budget, you can determine where you can afford to reside and plan accordingly.
Oftentimes, it helps to get pre-approved for a mortgage. If you meet with banks and credit unions, you can learn about myriad home financing options. Next, you can select a mortgage and enter the real estate market with home financing in hand.
If you have concerns as you pursue a mortgage, don't hesitate to ask questions. Banks and credit unions employ expert mortgage specialists, and these professionals are happy to provide you with the insights you need to make an informed home financing decision.
3. Collaborate with a Real Estate Agent
If you are uncertain about how to approach a home search, there is no need to worry. In fact, you can hire a real estate agent who can help you identify your dream residence.
A real estate agent is dedicated to client satisfaction, and he or she will work with you to make your homeownership dream come true. First, a real estate agent will help you narrow your house search. This housing market professional then will keep you up to date about available homes in your preferred cities and towns. Once you find a house you want to buy, a real estate agent will help you submit a competitive offer to purchase this residence. Finally, when you are ready to close on a house, a real estate agent will help you complete your home purchase.
Dedicate time and resources to find your dream house – you'll be glad you did. Thanks to the aforementioned tips, you can accelerate the process of locating your ideal residence and acquire a house that can serve you well for years to come.
If you're in the market to buy your first home, you're probably experiencing a variety of emotions, ranging from excitement to trepidation. Owning your first home is a major accomplishment and lifestyle change, but it also brings with it a lot of responsibility. Not only will you have to make mortgage payments every month and pay property taxes on time, but you can no longer turn to your landlord when the furnace quits or your refrigerator dies. As former U.S. president Harry Truman once said, "The buck stops here."
Understanding Your Credit Rating
One thing you might want to become acquainted with before diving into a full-fledged house search is your credit report. Your credit score, as determined by the three major credit reporting companies, is a reflection of your ability and willingness to pay your bills on time. Banks and mortgage companies factor in this information when deciding whether to approve you for a loan. Your credit score also has an impact on the interest rate you're offered. Also called a "FICO" score, this scale ranges from a low of 300 points to a high of 800. The higher your score, the more desirable you're viewed as a potential loan customer.
If you'd like to find out where your credit score stands, you can get that information for free (once a year) from Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion. Unlike lenders, they don't take into account factors like income and length of employment. The main things they look at are payment history, amounts owed, and length of credit history. If your credit cards are maxed out or you've been late with payments, then that will lower your credit score and make it more difficult to obtain the most favorable interest rates and loan terms. Fortunately, there are a number of commonsense measures you can take to improve your credit score. Side note: Errors may occasionally crop up in your credit report, so it pays to review them on an annual basis and dispute erroneous or outdated information.
Steering Clear of Other Pitfalls
While buying your first home can seem like an intimidating process, an experienced real estate agent can guide you and make the journey a lot easier. A licensed agent can help you get the process rolling, keep you on track, and resolve problems. There are plenty of situations in life where going it alone is a viable strategy, but buying your first home is not necessarily one of them. By working with a real estate agent, you'll avoid unnecessary frustration, stress, and costly mistakes. You'll also stand a greater chance of finding just the right home for your needs, desired lifestyle, and budget.
Do you ever wish that they taught a class in high school called, “Things You’ll Actually Need to Know In Life?” You’d learn how to prepare your taxes, what investing is, and how to buy a home.
Unfortunately, all of these important life lessons tend to be self-taught; you pick them up along the way and learn from your mistakes.
However, it needn’t be that way. Our goal today is to give you an accurate idea of what to expect when you’re buying your first home. We’ll go over a typically home buying timeline and discuss how long each step can take. This will give you a better idea of how long it will take to close on your first home.
Step 1: Build credit and save for a down payment
Estimated time: 2+ years
The first step of buying a home is to make sure you’re financially secure enough to do so. While there are ways to purchase a home with low or no down payments (See FHA, USDA, and VA loans), generally it’s wiser to wait until you have a sizable down payment saved. This will save you money in interest and mortgage insurance in the long run.
Next, you’ll need to start working on your credit. If your credit score took some hits due to late payments when you were younger, now is the time to start fixing those mistakes by making on-time payments and paying off outstanding balances.
Step 2: Have a plan for the next phase of your life
Estimated time 6+ months
One of the most important, and least talked about, parts of buying a home is understanding what it means to own a home. If you have a spouse, partner, or family, you’ll need to be in agreement that you’re prepared to stay in one place for the next 5 or more years.
Buying a home is expensive and you won’t want to go through the process of closing on a home if you aren’t sure you’ll stay. This means making sure your career won’t bring you elsewhere in the near future.
Step 3: Get prequalified and preapproved
Estimated time 1-3 days (depending on how much initiative you take)
Getting prequalified for a mortgage takes minutes. You simply fill out an online form and the lender will give you an idea of the type and size loan you could qualify for. Be forewarned: they’ll also use this information to call and bother you about getting a mortgage from them.
Once you’re prequalified, it’s just a matter of working with the lender to provide the correct documentation for pre-approval.
Getting preapproved takes a bit longer (1-3 days), since it requires a credit check and some work on your part--namely, gathering and sending income verification.
Once you’re preapproved, you can safely start shopping for homes without worrying that you’re wasting time looking at homes that are overbudget.
Step 4: House Hunting
Estimated time: 30+ days
It’s a seller’s market. So, if you’re buying a home right now there is competition out there. You’ll need to dedicate a substantial amount of time to researching homes online, contacting sellers’ agents, and following up on calls. Like before, the amount of effort you put into this process determines how quickly and smoothly you’ll get through it.
Step 5: Making an offer and closing
Estimated time: ~50 days
Average closing times for buying a home has grown to 50 days according to a recent study. However, by securing financing ahead of time and acting quickly, you can drastically cut down the time of these process to as little as two weeks.