Location is an integral factor in buying any type of home. Before you check the features, you should seriously consider the area in which you will be living, as it could make or break your buying decision. However, location isn’t the only crucial factor you should look into when buying luxury homes. Since you will be spending more on this type of home, you have to ensure that the property is worth every penny. Continue reading…
We’ve assembled a Lake Minnetonka home buying checklist for people thinking of entering the real estate market, looking to buy a house. Let’s take a look at these seven important tips.
1 – Home buying should be for the long haul. Not too long ago, buying houses and turning around and selling them (or “flipping” them) was a popular way to make money. Today, we recommend considering planning to live in the home you buy for at least 7-10 years. Of course, there’s no hard and fast rule. People move where their jobs take them – whether it’s across town or across the country – but give consideration to whether you’ll likely move within the next few years before you decide to buy. For some people, it may be better to rent for a few years.
2 – Do some soul-searching before you decide to buy. Your Lake Minnetonka home buying checklist should include asking yourself a series of tough questions to make sure your heart is in what you’re about to undertake. Buying a home is the single largest purchase most people will make in their lifetime – make sure you recognize that, and treat it importantly.
3 – Ask yourself these questions: Will you choose to start a family soon? Do your needs require a home with a large yard for a growing family or your pet(s)? How do you feel about yard work? Do you like the city better than the suburbs?
4 – Take your time before you buy. Most people tend to jump right into to the home buying pool without testing the water first. Take your time. There’s no hurry. While interest rates are fairly low, the temptation may be to act quickly, but experts say the rates are expected to remain fairly affordable throughout 2017. Use the extra time you allot to make sure your credit score is in the best shape possible and that the other items you’ll need for loan qualification are in order (tax returns if you’re self-employed, source and verification of your down payment, etc.)
5 – Buy within your budget. One of the most important items on your Lake Minnetonka home buying checklist should be to focus on what you can comfortably afford. Remember, mortgage lenders will use your debt-to-income ratio (DTI) to determine whether you qualify for home loan financing. Before you start the home shopping journey, take a look at your DTI. Take the total of all your recurring debt including your proposed monthly mortgage payment (PITI) along with other monthly debt like credit cards and car payments. Divide that total by your gross monthly income. Most mortgage lending experts say your DTI should be 36% or lower. The most important thing to remember is this: Take out the loan and the monthly payment you can comfortably afford, not necessarily the one you qualify for. Making a higher monthly mortgage payment is no fun if you can’t afford to buy steaks for the new backyard grill occasionally. Some experts recommend buying a home you can afford based on one income. That way, should you or your spouse lose their job or get laid off – or elects to become a full-time parent – you can still comfortably pay for your home.
6 – Consider the tax advantages. The tax benefits are a big part of any Lake Minnetonka home buying checklist. Currently, the mortgage interest you pay on a primary residence is tax deductible. So, the tax savings are of huge consequence since you can deduct your home loan interest and your real estate taxes from your gross income. For example, if you earned $75,000 in gross income in 2016 and you paid $10,000 in mortgage interest and your property taxes were $2,000, you could lower your taxable income to $63,000 – saving you a bundle on income tax.
7 – Create a moving account. Another important item on your Lake Minnetonka home buying checklist is to start a move-in fund. Of course, you’ll have to have a down payment, but don’t forget other things like closing costs, moving expenses and other necessities for your new home. If you’ve been renting, for example, you may need to purchase a lawnmower and other lawn care equipment – along with that backyard grill!
8 – You may choose to rent, if you’re not ready to buy. Let’s face it…sometimes it’s not a good idea to buy. Maybe after you review your Lake Minnetonka home buying checklist you’ll realize it’s not the right time. If you’re not ready, don't force it. Rent instead. You’ll be happier, healthier and financially wiser to put it off a year or two until you feel more comfortable. Save your money. Find a better job. Get your finances in order. Do your homework. Then when you’re ready to buy you’ll be that much more prepared.
Read more about home buying advice in the section of articles on Lake Minnetonka Home Buying Tips just below our Lake Minnetonka Real Estate Categories in the column to your right.
Remember, we also post tips daily on Facebook and Twitter. Check us out there, too.
Many potential purchasers seek Lake Minnetonka home buying advice as they prepare to search for a home. These prospective homeowners usually have several things in common – they are all concerned about issues that may arise during the home buying process. Let’s take a look at the five biggest fears first-time homeowners have as they enter the market.
“What if there’s a problem with the home I want to buy?”
Whether it’s a starter home, an older home, or a fixer-upper, one of the most frequently asked questions from purchasers seeking Lake Minnetonka home buying advice is what happens if a home has an issue discovered by a routine home inspection. While most older homes require routine maintenance home inspectors will note in their report, some homes can have more pressing problems. Home issues like a cracked foundation, a leaky roof or dry rot need to be addressed as soon as possible. As the prospective purchaser, if you still want to buy the home, we suggest you discuss the issue with the seller – including the estimate given by the home inspector or repair contractor – and attempt to negotiate a reduction in the sales price or a credit to be applied toward the necessary repair work. If you can’t reach a satisfactory agreement, move on. There are other homes out there – that don’t have major problems with which to contend.
“I don’t want to lose my deposit.”
When you find a home you’re interested in and and are presented a contract to sign, prospective buyers typically are required to include an earnest money deposit ranging from 3%-5% of the sales price. Earnest money is held in escrow to be applied to the sales prices once the deal is consummated. And while there are few scenarios in which buyers actually lose their deposits, it remains one of the most popular concerns from those looking for Lake Minnetonka home buying advice. Remember, there are certain contingencies in every sales contract, and your real estate agent can assist in reassuring you that if those contingencies aren’t met your earnest money will be refunded. As an example, your contract may include a contingency that the home appraise for an amount equal to or greater than the sales price. If the appraisal is less than the sales price, not only will it potentially affect your mortgage financing, but it may signal you’re in danger of overpaying for the home. Our advice is to negotiate with the seller if you still want to buy the house.
“I like this house and I don’t want to lose it.”
Another concern expressed by homeowners asking for Lake Minnetonka home buying advice is the possibility they will lose the chance to buy the house they want. True, if you find the home that best fits your needs and budget, you should be prepared to move quickly. In hot markets – especially with limited inventory available – it’s not unusual for certain homes to receive multiple offers. While we don’t recommend overpaying for a home, consult your real estate agent as to what you can do to ensure your chances of getting the house you want. Be prepared to negotiate, if necessary. In addition, the faster you can offer the sellers a closing date the more attractive your contract may be, so have your proverbial ducks in a row. We suggest being pre-approved for financing and having your down payment in place so you can demonstrate to the sellers you’re prepared to close as soon as possible. Keep in mind, however, your biggest competition will come from those prospective buyers that may make higher offers – especially if one or more of those offers are from cash purchasers who don’t have to rely on mortgage financing.
“I’m concerned about my real estate agent.”
All real estate professionals are not created equally. Sometimes, prospective buyers feel their agents don’t have their best interest in mind or perhaps they just aren’t on the same page when it comes to the home search process. Our advice? If you feel uneasy about working with your agent, discuss your concerns and see if you can reiterate your expectations. If that doesn’t work – or if you choose not to have a heart to heart talk – find another agent. The best suggestion we can provide is to meet with your prospective agent as you consider beginning your home search and interview them. If you don’t feel a connection or don't feel you'll be able to work closely with them, move on and talk to other agents until you find one you're more comfortable with. Never settle on working with an agent you have concerns about. Chance are, your first instincts will end up being true.
“I have a timetable on buying a home… and time’s running out.”
The best piece of Lake Minnetonka home buying advice we can give is not to rush into buying a home. Remember, it's a decision that represents the single largest purchase you’ll probably ever make – so, treat it that way. If you have a timetable, plan ahead and allow for a contingency as you approach your deadline. As an example, if your lease if coming up for renewal and you’re concerned about finding a house before it expires, don’t rush into buying just any home that's available. Consider an alternate approach – you don't have to buy – perhaps you can get a short-term extension on your lease or find another rental property offering a month-to-month lease to give you sufficient time to shop for your home without the pressure of meeting a certain timetable.
Lastly, prospective purchasers interested in Lake Minnetonka home buying advice should remember this: If you’re concerned about any aspect of your home search or mortgage lending process, take it slow and follow your gut. As mentioned before, a home purchase it an important step and a huge financial investment – treat it as such and you’ll be sure to enjoy the process more by having greater peace of mind.
Read more about home buying advice in the section of articles on Lake Minnetonka Home Buying Tips just below our Lake Minnetonka Real Estate Categories in the column to your right. Remember, we also post tips daily on Facebook and Twitter.. Check us out there, too.