“The new year stands before us, like a chapter in a book, waiting to be written. We can help write that story by setting goals.”
The temperature is dropping, and holiday plans with friends and family are well underway. December is a time for reflection on the past year and goal setting for the new year that is about to arrive.
If reflecting has helped you realize it’s time for a new home, you’ve come to the right place. Let’s make some New Year’s resolutions to help you get a new home in the coming year.
Why You Need a New Year’s Resolution to Buy a New Home
Buying a home is complex and can be a lengthy process. Balancing a budget, pouring over mortgage options, selecting a realtor, and choosing a property are just a few of the tasks you will face before buying. Why not use the new year as an excuse to get started?
In order to keep organized and leverage your buying power, I suggest making a road map to a new home and following it. Here are some basic resolutions to get you started.
6 New Year’s Resolutions To Help Form a Home Buying Plan
1. Make a Home Buying File
Anything that you may need to prepare for or execute the purchase of a new home should be included. I recommend creating a binder or folder to hold all the information you will need along your journey. It should include items like:
- A monthly home budget
- All financial statements – you’ll need these to apply for a mortgage
- Credit report information
- Documents to obtain mortgage pre-approval and pre-qualification
- Pre-approval letters
- Research on prospective neighborhoods, properties and cities
- Research on Realtors and brokerages
- Any contracts or agreements with Realtors or other contractors
- All future documents related to contracts, appraisals, offers etc.
- A needs and wants list
2. Manage and Evaluate Your Finances
According to the National Association of Realtors, almost 9 out of 10 buyers finance their home purchase. That means almost 9 out of 10 buyers really need a clear picture of their finances.
Start your evaluation by creating a monthly budget. Then investigate where you can save money to put towards your new home. Include a plan for covering closing costs, down payments, and the many miscellaneous fees.
As part of this New Year’s resolution, plan to avoid large purchases. This can affect not only your budget but also your credit rating. I know you want that new boat for Otter Creek this summer, but wait until after you get your new home.
3. Prepare To Obtain a Mortgage
Start monitoring your credit score and researching mortgage brokers. Plan to obtain a pre-approval before going to look at homes. Learn the difference between a pre-approval and a pre-qualification.
4. Find a Realtor and Brokerage
Research the Realtors in your area. Your Realtor should be active and knowledgeable in the locations and types of properties that will interest you. Make an appointment with one and see what they can offer you over other Realtors.
5. Learn About the Real Estate Market in Your Area
Be proactive and try to understand how the housing market is doing in your area. Is it a seller’s market or a buyer’s market? Are people in a hurry to sell or willing to wait for the right deal?
Doing the research yourself will help reaffirm (or dispute) the advice you get from your Realtor. The most important time to use this information is when you go to make an offer on a home. Too many buyers have missed out on the home they loved because their low-ball offer was ignored. If they had done their research, they would have known the market was booming and the seller had the upper hand.
6. Create a List of Must-Haves for Your New Home
Create a prioritized list of your needs and wants for your new home. You can use this list to determine what your deal breakers are and where you are willing to compromise. Making these decisions ahead of time will keep you from hesitating when the time is right.
Putting It All Together
Let’s keep it simple. This coming new year, you will make a resolution to:
- Make a home buying file to help map the process.
- Manage and evaluate your finances to account for a home purchase.
- Prepare to obtain a mortgage.
- Find a Realtor and brokerage to help with your purchase.
- Learn about the real estate market in your area to help with your purchase decisions.
- Create a list of must-haves for your new home.
Whewww!! This is quite a list of resolutions, but it will be worth the effort when next December rolls around and you are relaxing with friends and family in your new home.
If you need a hand with any of these New Year’s resolutions or have any questions in general, I would love to hear from you in the comments.