How Far in Advance Should I Call a Realtor When I Want to Buy a House?
So, you think you may be ready to buy a house soon. Maybe your lease is coming up for renewal in 4 or 5 months, and you think this is the year to buy instead of renew. What do you do now? How soon should you contact a Realtor to get the process started? What all is involved in buying a house anyhow?
Well, I'm glad you asked. The answer is you should contact me today. Even if you are a year away from being ready to purchase, go ahead and give me a call. There are several things you can be doing to get ready (and things you shouldn't do), and I can let you know what those things are. Here are a few things to think about when you want a home purchase to be in your near future.
1. Contact a Realtor. Talk to them about what you may like to buy and where. They can make sure you're being realistic in your expectations. Maybe what you want is well within your predicted budget. Maybe it isn't. If not, the Realtor can give you some suggestions of things you can adjust so you will be able to find a new home that works for you.
A Realtor can also set you up on a property search so you can start to see the types of homes that are available that meet your criteria. This can help you narrow down your criteria or even help you decide on a location.
Contacting a Realtor in advance also gives you time to get to know them and them to get to know you. The more your agent knows you, the better they'll be able to find the best new home for you.
2. Let the Realtor connect you with a lender. This is a very important step in the home buying process unless you are prepared to be a cash buyer. Often buyers have no idea just what they can afford. Maybe you know what you want your monthly payment to be, but you don't know what that translates to in purchase price. Maybe you have income you won't be able to use to qualify for a mortgage or credit issues you'll need to get resolved. The sooner you start working with a lender, the more time you'll have to correct any problems before they really are problems. Lenders can advise you in correcting credit problems or refer you to a credit repair specialist if need be. They can also let you know what is and is not counted as income and how much debt you will be able to carry compared to your income. Many buyers don't quite qualify at first, but after a little work with a lender, end up able to purchase much sooner than they expected.
3. With the lender's advice, work on your financial issues. Pay off things they need you to pay off. Save up as much money as you can during this time. Don't make any major purchases or transfer large amounts of money around without speaking to your lender first to make certain you aren't going to cause yourself any problems with your upcoming home purchase and you are documenting everything you'll need to have documents for later.
I assure you, as a Realtor, I'd much rather have you call me a year in advance of your upcoming purchase so I can help make the process much smoother for you than have you call me a couple weeks before the end of your lease in a panic because you need to buy something today.