Are you ready to say hello to home ownership in Sonoma County? Although many first-time homebuyers focus on the excitement of personalizing a home with favorite colors or a planting garden, home ownership is much more than paint palettes and vegetable growing. Owning a home can provide an important step toward gaining personal wealth and financial security.
As we emerge from the restrictions of COVID-19 and ease back into a more conventional lifestyle, 2021 may be the perfect time to jump into the real estate market. Interest rates remain low and inventory is beginning to increase, creating a great opportunity for many buyers.
But before jumping into the market, it’s prudent to consider a few aspects of the process that can streamline the search and land you in the best position to purchase the home of your dreams.
Consider your lifestyle.
Because there is no such thing as a perfect home, it’s essential to assess your needs versus your wants. Every home purchase requires a degree of compromise and understanding your priorities is important. For many would-be homebuyers, the location of the property is vital. Because the pandemic has changed the way that many companies approach their business models, the door has opened for many employees to consider living in new locations. So, do a little research on potential neighborhoods. Grab a sandwich at the local deli. Stop by the neighborhood parks and chat with the locals. It’s possible to gather a great deal of valuable information by spending time in the neighborhood.
Talk to a Lender
BEFORE falling in love with a home that may exceed your budget, meeting with a lender is a crucial first step. Your lender will discuss down payment requirements and various loan options to help find the right loan for you and together you can determine a reasonable purchase price that works for your lifestyle. Don’t forget that owning a home has its own hidden set of costs including maintenance, insurance fees, updates, etc. As you consider how much to spend on a home, be sure to consider your general lifestyle choices to be confident that your house payment and additional costs are conducive to your future goals.
Find a local Buyer’s Agent
A buyer’s agent represents the buyer’s needs exclusively so it’s important to have a good relationship with him/her. Because a buyer’s agent works diligently to help you locate ideal properties in your target area, finding a local agent with extensive neighborhood experience is essential to the process and can make the process much more efficient—and fun!
Watch your credit
Buying a home is one of the largest financial decisions you’ll ever make, so caring for your credit during the process is essential. Hit the pause button on large purchases, such as car loans or leases and wait until after closing to upgrade to the newest phone. Even subtle changes to your debt-to-income ratio can change how much home you qualify for.
I can help
Are you interested in learning more about taking those first steps to homeownership? As an experienced Sonoma County Realtor, it would be my pleasure to assist you in finding the home of your dreams!