If you want to buy a home, but aren't sure if your budget can handle soaring real estate prices, we've got good news. There are things you can do to stretch your buying power. With the help of your real estate agent and these 5 tips you can become a savvy home buyer without breaking your budget.
1. Get pre-approved for your home loan. This means, fill out a loan application and go through the process of securing financing. That way, when you're ready to seriously evaluate real estate, you'll know exactly how much home you can afford.
2. Explore creative financing options. During the home loan pre-approval process, ask about ways to get creative with your financing. Low down payment options, first and second mortgage combinations and first time buyer programs might help you afford more funding. Many lenders are now offering interest-only home mortgages; just make sure you thoroughly evaluate the terms for this type of home loan. Down payment grants are also available in some instances and might be worth investigating or discussing with your realtor.
3. Sell your existing home first. Although selling your existing home before finding new real estate to buy can be a little nerve wracking. Any inconvenience will be offset by your ability to make an offer with cash in hand. Contingent purchases are not the best when negotiating to buy a home. Having your financing in order and your bags packed will give you the advantage in a competitive market.
4. Consider cosmetic fixers. If you're handy with a paintbrush, a toolset and gardening equipment, consider buying real estate in need of cosmetic fixing. Property that lacks curb appeal needs minor handiwork or the yard overhauled could end up being the home of your dreams for a price you can afford. You just need to look beyond the ho-hum to see the potential of a cosmetic fixer.
5. The cheapest house in the best neighborhood. You have your heart set on a specific and expensive neighborhood. Maybe it's the schools that you're interested in. Perhaps it's the close proximity to downtown or the waterfront. In any case, a budget-savvy buyer will look for the least expensive home for sale in the neighborhood. If you're not in a hurry, you can even play the waiting game to see what properties come on the market. Your real estate agent can be a real asset in this case by investigating potential sellers.
Buying real estate without breaking your budget will require research and compromise. On moving day, however, you'll have the satisfaction of knowing that your homework paid off!