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Purchasing a home is a life-changing decision, and as such, should not be taken lightly. Fortunately, there are lots of things you can do to prepare for the homebuying journey, such as:

1. Determine Where You Want to Live

There is no shortage of high-quality houses available across the United States. Now, you just need to determine where you want to reside, and you can hone your house search accordingly.

Think about your long-term plans as you consider where you want to live. For instance, if you enjoy life in the big city, you may want to search for houses in or near the city of your choice. On the other hand, if you want to start a family in the near future, you may want to explore residences near parks and other family-friendly attractions.

Ultimately, it helps to narrow your home search to a few cities and towns. Because if you know where you want to live, you can quickly navigate the homebuying journey.

2. Establish a Budget

A budget is a must-have for any homebuyer, at any time. If you know how much you can spend on a house, you can search for residences that fall within your price range.

Oftentimes, it helps to meet with banks and credit unions before you launch a home search. These financial institutions can teach you about different types of mortgages. Then, you can select a mortgage that suits you perfectly.

Don't forget about home inspection, closing and other property buying fees, either. If you account for these property buying costs, you can ensure you have the necessary funds available to cover them.

3. Consult with a Real Estate Agent

A real estate agent is a difference-maker for a homebuyer. He or she is happy to teach a homebuyer about the ins and outs of the real estate market. As a result, a real estate agent will help you become a homebuying expert.

Typically, a real estate agent offers recommendations and insights throughout the homebuying journey. He or she first will learn about you and help you establish homebuying expectations. Next, a real estate agent will help you kick off a search for homes in your preferred cities and towns. When you find your dream residence, a real estate agent will help you craft a competitive offer to purchase this home. And if your offer to purchase is approved, a real estate agent will help you navigate the final stages of the homebuying journey.

Furthermore, a real estate agent can provide assistance any time a homebuyer has concerns or questions. A real estate agent strives to help you make informed homebuying decisions. Thus, he or she will do whatever it takes to educate you about the homebuying cycle and ensure you are ready to find and buy your ideal residence.

Simplify the process of finding your dream home – use the aforementioned tips, and you can prep for the homebuying journey.


Purchasing a house on a budget can be difficult for even the most diligent property buyer. Lucky for you, we're here to help you create an effective homebuying budget and reduce the temptation to spend beyond your means to acquire your ideal residence.

Now, let's take a look at three tips to help you craft a property buying budget.

1. Examine Your Finances Closely

Your income, everyday expenses and other financial factors may impact your ability to buy a house. Therefore, you should analyze your finances closely to determine how much you can spend on a residence.

Once you evaluate your finances, you can establish a price range for your home search. Next, you can kick off a house search and move one step closer to acquiring your dream house.

2. Get Your Credit Score

Your credit score is a three-digit number based on your outstanding debt, length of credit history and other factors. It may have a major impact on your ability to secure home financing and establish a successful homebuying budget. As such, you should review your credit score and work to improve it before you enter the housing market.

To obtain your credit score, you can request a copy of your credit report from each of the three reporting bureaus (Equifax, Experian and TransUnion). You are eligible to receive a free copy of your credit report annually from each credit reporting bureau. Thus, you should take advantage of this complimentary perk and obtain your credit report as soon as you can.

If you identify outstanding debt on your credit report, you should work to pay this off. Or, if you find errors on your credit report, you should contact the bureau that provided the report to fix these mistakes.

3. Meet with Lenders

Banks and credit unions are happy to meet with you to discuss various home financing options. If you consult with these lenders, you may be better equipped than ever before to create a successful homebuying budget before you launch a house search.

Ultimately, lenders can help you get pre-approved for a mortgage. If you get a mortgage prior to searching for a house, you'll know exactly how much you can spend on a residence. Then, you can speed up your home search and discover your dream house faster than ever before.

As you get ready to begin your quest for your ideal residence, you may want to hire a real estate agent too. This housing market professional can put you in touch with top lenders in your area and help you secure home financing. Furthermore, a real estate agent can tailor a home search to your property buying budget. Perhaps best of all, a real estate agent will help you negotiate with a seller's agent to ensure you can get the best price on any home, at any time.

Create an effective homebuying budget – use the aforementioned tips, and you can establish a property buying budget and use it to streamline your home search.


Photo by Athitat Shinagowin via Shutterstock

You’ll often hear it stated that paying rent is throwing money down the drain. As a motivation to buy a home, however, that might not be the best idea. A rule of thumb is that if you can purchase a home for fifteen times what you currently pay annually in rent, buying makes sense. In real numbers, if your rent is $1,500 a month, your annual rent is $18,000. Fifteen times that amount is $270,000. That means if you can buy a comparable home for around $270,000, it makes sense to buy rather than to rent because you’ll break even in 15 years and will accrue equity beyond that.

But even if housing prices fit that scenario, what is your personal criteria?

Is renting throwing money away?

That depends. There are multiple rent vs. buy calculators online that allow you to plug in the variables that apply to your situation. The adage that it’s always better to buy may not fit into your lifestyle, career goals or plans. Don’t buy just because someone tells you that you’re tossing away your life savings. After all, if you have enough for a down payment, you can invest it in something more liquid than property.

But, buying is a fantastic idea if you love the community, see yourself living there for at least five years, and want to own your home.

There are some guidelines, however, to help you determine if you are ready. These require that you keep financial considerations separate.

  • Do you still have student loans? If so, determine the impact that more debt places not just on your pocketbook, but on your psyche. If having education debt stresses you out, adding more debt to that is not a solution. Instead, before you buy a home, work with a student debt counselor to see if you can make some headway on your loans.
  • Do you have an emergency fund? For some people, if they get a flat tire or the fuel pump goes out in the car, the burden of taking care of that emergency can throw all caution to the wind. Having an emergency fund of a minimum of $1000 for short-term emergencies (car repair, flight to a family funeral, etc.) and three to six months for long-term emergencies (extended illness, job loss) protects you from disasters lurking around every corner.
  • Can you set aside money for home maintenance? If you replace your rent one-to-one with a mortgage (even including taxes, PMI, and homeowner’s insurance), you still need funds for regular home maintenance. Generally, you’ll want to set aside about one percent of the cost of the house minimum for annual maintenance. If you buy your home for $300,000, you’ll need to set aside an extra $250 a month (3% or $750 a month is better) to cover repairs, maintenance, and upkeep of your home.

The other questions you want to answer are: How secure is your job? Could you be moving within five years? Do you qualify for a good interest rate? Buying just to escape renting is never a promising idea. But if the answer to these questions leads you to believe homeownership is right for you, in the right location, and it’s the right time, find the right real estate professional to help you get there.


If you decide you're ready to purchase your dream house, you should submit a competitive homebuying proposal from the get-go. Otherwise, you could risk missing out on the opportunity to acquire your ideal residence.

Submitting an offer to purchase your ideal house that meets the expectations of a property seller can be simple. Now, let's take a look at three tips to help you craft a competitive offer to purchase your dream house.

1. Examine the Local Housing Market

The price of a home in a big city may prove to be much higher than the price of a comparable house in a small town. Much in the same vein, a housing market that features an abundance of sellers is likely to be far different from a market that includes many buyers. However, if you assess the local housing sector closely, you can identify real estate market patterns and trends and craft your homebuying proposal accordingly.

Oftentimes, it helps to look at the prices of recently sold houses in the city or town where you want to live. You also may want to find out how long these homes were available before they sold. That way, you can differentiate a buyer's market from a seller's one and put together a competitive offer to purchase based on the present's real estate sector's conditions.

2. Analyze a Home's Age and Condition

A brand-new home may prove to be more expensive than an older house that is in need of major repairs. Comparatively, a recently renovated house is likely to be a great choice for buyers who want to avoid property repairs, while a "fixer-upper" home may be a top option for those who are ready to tackle property repairs on their own.

As you analyze a home's age and condition, you should consider how much you are willing to pay for this residence. It sometimes helps to consider potential home upgrades and repairs that may need to be completed. And if you evaluate possible home improvement costs, you can account for these expenses in your offer to purchase.

3. Consult with a Real Estate Agent

A real estate agent is a homebuying expert, and his or her goal is to ensure you can acquire a great house at an affordable price. Thus, if you collaborate with a real estate agent, you can put together a competitive offer to purchase in no time at all.

Typically, a real estate agent will offer housing market insights that you may struggle to find elsewhere. And when you're ready to submit an offer to purchase your dream home, a real estate agent will help you craft a homebuying proposal that is sure to get a seller's attention. Plus, a real estate agent will negotiate with a seller's agent to help you get the best price on your ideal house.

Ready to submit an offer to purchase your dream home? Use the aforementioned tips, and you can put together a competitive homebuying proposal and quickly accomplish your homebuying aspirations.


Enjoying a seamless home buying journey may seem virtually impossible, particularly for a first-time property buyer. Fortunately, there are lots of things you can do to boost the likelihood of quickly and easily finding your dream house, such as:

1. Hone Your Home Search

Consider where you want to reside and the features you want to find in your ideal residence. That way, you can hone your house search accordingly.

As you review potential home destinations, consider your short- and long-term goals. For instance, if you want to work in a big city, you may want to search for houses in or near a city that matches your expectations. Or, if you intend to start a family soon, you may want to pursue homes near parks and other family-friendly attractions.

Furthermore, make a list of home features you want to discover in your dream house. With this list in hand, you can focus on finding a home that you can enjoy for years to come.

2. Get Pre-Approved for a Mortgage

A mortgage usually is a must-have for a homebuyer. If you enter the real estate market with a mortgage in hand, you could speed up your house search.

Meet with a variety of banks and credit unions. This will allow you to learn about myriad mortgage options.

In addition, don't hesitate to ask mortgage questions. A mortgage sometimes is confusing, and as such, it helps to get plenty of information about a mortgage before you start a house search. If you consult with mortgage specialists at banks and credit unions, you can gain the insights you need to make an informed mortgage selection.

3. Establish Realistic Expectations

Although you likely want to find your dream residence as quickly as possible, it is important to remember that the home buying journey often has ebbs and flows. If you establish realistic home buying expectations, you can avoid potential disappointments as you search for your ideal residence.

Sometimes, it helps to consider the worst-case home buying scenarios. If you plan ahead for these situations, you can determine the steps you will need to take to avoid them altogether.

You may want to collaborate with family members and friends during your home search as well. With loved ones at your side, you can receive plenty of support and guidance as you conduct a home search. Plus, your loved ones can help you keep things in perspective, even if the home buying journey becomes stressful.

When it comes to finding and buying a home, you may want to employ a real estate agent, too. A real estate agent understands the ins and outs of the home buying journey. They will learn about you and your home buying goals, and help you plan properly. Thus, a real estate agent can provide you with the support you need to enjoy a seamless home buying journey.

Ready to conduct a successful home search? Take advantage of the aforementioned tips, and you can navigate the home buying journey like a pro and quickly discover your dream home.




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