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Buying a condo may seem like an uphill climb, particularly for those who are browsing the real estate market for the first time. Lucky for you, we're here to help you take the guesswork out of finding the right condo.
What does it take to locate a high-quality condo at an affordable price? Here are three tips that every first-time condo buyer needs to know.
1. Explore a Wide Range of Condos
The real estate market is filled with many first-rate condos, and the sheer volume of properties that are available may feel overwhelming at times. Therefore, you should allocate the necessary time and resources to find a condo that suits you perfectly.
Don't be afraid to check out several condos over the course of a few days or weeks. By doing so, you can better understand what you'd like to find in the ideal condo.
Of course, if you fall in love with a condo, you should be ready to submit an offer. That way, you can avoid the risk of missing out on a great condo that matches or exceeds your expectations.
2. Determine How You'll Pay for a Condo
Many property buyers get pre-approved for a mortgage, and for good reason. With a mortgage in hand, you'll know exactly what you can afford as you review the real estate market.
Meet with a variety of banks and credit unions. These lenders will be able to provide you with multiple mortgage options and respond to your financing concerns and queries.
Also, keep in mind that the price of a condo may extend beyond your monthly mortgage payments.
In many instances, condo communities have homeowners' associations (HOAs) in place that will charge monthly fees. Learn about any HOA fees in advance, and you'll know exactly what you'll need to pay each month to live in a particular condo community.
3. Work with a Real Estate Agent
No one should be forced to evaluate condos on their own. Fortunately, you can hire a real estate agent to streamline the process of finding a terrific condo.
A real estate agent with condo experience understands the hurdles that may arise during a condo search. As such, he or she will do whatever it takes to ensure you can get the best results possible as you look for the perfect condo.
For instance, a real estate agent will set up condo showings and keep you up to date about open houses. This real estate professional will even negotiate with a condo seller on your behalf, which means you won't have to worry about breaking your budget to purchase a stellar condo.
Employing a real estate agent enables you to get expert advice at each stage of the condo buying process too. Thus, you can receive instant responses to your condo buying questions at any time.
Simplify the process of buying your first condo – use the aforementioned tips, and you can boost your chances of acquiring a superb condo at a budget-friendly price.
As you move forward with your home purchase, your real estate agent may recommend that you have your home inspected. Sometimes the inspection is required by the lender or insurance company, but sometimes it’s an optional step. Buyers who have the option sometimes consider skipping the inspection to save a little cash. Before you say “no” to the inspection, consider these reasons that it may be an important safety measure to take.
1. The Ability to Walk Away
When buying a home, you want to be completely sure that you’re not buying a home with problems that will cost you thousands after closing. Making an offer contingent on the results of an inspection allows you to legally walk away from your purchase contract if the inspector finds a serious issue. Without an inspection and this contingency, your offer is legally binding, and walking away is a costly choice.
2. Ensure Your Home Is Safe
Home inspectors know how to find problems that aren’t clear to the naked eye. From electrical wiring problems to hidden mold or problems with the home’s structure, knowing about these issues will protect you from buying a home that’s not safe to live in.
3. Improve Your Negotiating Position
If the inspection finds something wrong with the home that will be costly to fix, you can still buy the home if you wish. Armed with the information from the inspection, you can ask the seller to make repairs or give you a different price to cover the problems found. For instance, if the roof is in need of major repair, you can make a new offer that requires the seller to make those repairs, or you can offer at a lower price, using the difference to cover the repairs. Your real estate agent will help you understand the requests that are reasonable as you craft a new offer.
4. Enjoy Peace of Mind
A home inspection gives you peace of mind that you are buying a quality home. When the inspector gives it a stamp of approval, you can know that you are unlikely to have serious surprises when you move in.
5. Find Pest Problems
You don’t want to move in only to discover termites or roaches in the home. Pests can often go undetected until a serious infestation is present, but an inspector knows how to find the hidden signs of pests. Finding pests doesn’t mean you need to avoid the home, but it does mean you should ask the seller for professional pest control measures before you close on the property.
An inspection is an important step when buying a home. The cost of the inspection is small in comparison to the peace of mind and protection it brings. Even if it’s not required, make sure you request an inspection on your next home purchase.
Finding and purchasing a home sometimes can be difficult, particularly for an individual who encounters assorted challenges throughout the property buying journey. Lucky for you, there are several shortcuts that a homebuyer can use to streamline the property buying process. These shortcuts include:
1. Narrow Your Home Search
If you know you want to buy a home, you should consider where you want to reside and what features you want in your ideal residence. That way, you can avoid the danger of committing time and resources to analyze houses that fail to meet your expectations.
Oftentimes, it helps to craft a list of preferred cities and towns. This list will help you hone your home search to specific areas and ensure you can accelerate the homebuying journey.
Think about what you want to find in your dream house and create a list of home must-haves and wants too. With this list in hand, you can further accelerate your search for your ideal home.
2. Get Pre-Approved for a Mortgage
Some homebuyers apply for a mortgage after they find their dream residence, but doing so may prove to be problematic. Because if a buyer submits an offer to purchase a home without a mortgage at his or her disposal, this individual likely will need to move quickly to get home financing. Or, if a buyer provides a homebuying proposal but cannot secure a mortgage, this individual risks missing out on the opportunity to acquire his or her dream house.
To get pre-approved for a mortgage, you can meet with banks and credit unions and explore a wide range of mortgage options. Then, once you select a mortgage, you can kick off your home search and know exactly how much you can spend to purchase your ideal residence.
3. Hire a Real Estate Agent
A real estate agent is a homebuying expert who will guide you along the property buying journey. He or she can help you identify potential homebuying hurdles and overcome these issues before they escalate. Best of all, a real estate agent will do everything possible to ensure you can acquire a great home at a budget-friendly price.
In addition, a real estate agent will work with you throughout the property buying journey. He or she first will learn about your homebuying goals and help you craft an effective property buying strategy. Next, a real estate agent will help you put your homebuying plan into action and ensure you can discover a house that matches your expectations. And once you discover your ideal home, a real estate agent will help you put together a competitive offer to purchase this residence.
As you prepare to kick off the homebuying journey, you should try to plan ahead as much as possible. By taking advantage of the aforementioned shortcuts, you can prepare for the homebuying journey and speed up the process of finding and purchasing your dream residence.
If you're looking for loans with excellent interest rates, you may have heard the term USDA bandied about. This special type of loan is attractive on paper, but the reality is a little more complicated than what meets the eye. Learn more about what a USDA loan is meant to do, how to get one, and why the terms are so buyer-friendly.
The Goal of the USDA
The primary goal of a USDA loan is to infuse new life into rural communities. When people flock to cities, it causes rents to rise and small towns to crumble. A USDA loan is a way to entice Americans to renovate old homes and keep abandoned neighborhoods alive. These loans are backed by the government and issued by the lender. Because of the purpose behind the USDA, the applicant is judged more so on their general merits rather than their financial status. As long as the buyer is willing to commit to the property and the surrounding community, they're likely to be approved.
Requirements of the USDA Loan
Here are the key eligibility requirements for a USDA loan:
- Location: The majority of USDA properties will be in rural areas. You'll need to research the homes available under the USDA umbrella before applying for a loan.
- Credit score: The credit score minimum is ambiguous since the USDA loan is based on more than just straight financials. However, those with a credit score of at least 640 typically receive a fast-tracked application. This means fewer questions and underwriting from the lender and a nearly guaranteed approval.
- Down payment: USDA loans don't require a traditional down payment. However, you will need to pay 1% of the loan to the lender if putting down less than 20% of the total loan.
- Fees: There's a .35% fee every year for the entire course of the loan. The .35% is applied to the mortgage balance, meaning it decreases every year.
- Interest rates: The lender sets the interest rates for USDA loans, but they can go as low as 1% in some cases.
- Closing costs: Closing costs are typically between 1 and 3% of the total price of the home.
It's worth noting that some USDA homes are in more populated areas, so you shouldn't assume a property is ineligible until you confirm. If you're unable to secure a USDA loan, you may want to consider an FHA loan. While the terms are not quite as attractive, FHA loans are also backed by the government. This gives people with lower credit scores a way to secure a property at a reasonable interest rate.
If your initial offer to purchase a home is countered, there is no need to stress. In fact, there are lots of reasons why you should negotiate with a house seller, and these include:
1. You can speed up the homebuying journey.
The homebuying journey may prove to be long and complicated. If you find a house you want to buy, however, there is no need to wait to submit an offer to purchase this home. And if a seller wants to negotiate with you, it may be worthwhile to work with this individual so you can acquire your ideal house.
A homebuying negotiation enables you to try to reach a house purchase agreement with a seller. Plus, if you and a seller cannot come to terms, you can always reenter the housing market and continue to search for another home that matches your expectations.
2. You can find common ground with a home seller.
When it comes to buying a home, it is important to avoid submitting a "lowball" offer to purchase. If a buyer submits a lowball property buying proposal, he or she risks alienating a seller. Worst of all, a seller may be more likely than ever before to reject the buyer's proposal and move forward with other offers to purchase.
Thanks to a homebuying negotiation, you can come to terms on a home purchase agreement that works well for both you and a seller. As a result, both you and a seller will be satisfied with the final terms of a home purchase agreement.
3. You can pay the lowest price for your dream home.
If you feel a seller's initial asking price is too high, negotiating with this individual offers an excellent opportunity to get the best price for your ideal house. And if you open up negotiations with a seller, you could acquire a terrific house at a budget-friendly price.
Of course, it is crucial to consider the seller's perspective during a homebuying negotiation. If you maintain constant communication with a seller, both you and this individual can work together to finalize a home purchase contract.
Negotiating with a home seller may be stressful, regardless of whether you are buying a house for the first time or have purchased residences in the past. Fortunately, if you hire a real estate agent, you can receive expert support as you negotiate a home purchase.
A real estate agent is happy to negotiate with a house seller on your behalf. He or she will keep you up to date throughout a home purchase negotiation. Best of all, a real estate agent will do everything possible to help you purchase your dream house at the lowest price.
For those who want to achieve the optimal results during the homebuying journey, it generally is a good idea to negotiate with a seller. If you are willing to negotiate with a seller, you could acquire your dream home faster than ever before.