by Vince Liuzzi
Executive Vice President and Chief Banking Officer, DNB First
Spring isn’t just the start of baseball season; it’s also the beginning of another big season – the spring home buying season. And just like baseball, the home buying season can be highly competitive, as multiple buyers often compete for the same home.
What can you do to put yourself in better position to get the home you want – and get a leg up on your competition? Here are seven smart moves you can make:
- Tend to your credit. Good credit is key to obtaining a mortgage and the best possible rate, yet many borrowers don’t deal with their credit until they apply for a mortgage. Before you begin shopping for a home, get a copy of your credit report to ensure it’s accurate and to rectify any problems.
- Get pre-approved. One of the most important steps you can take to improve your negotiating power with a seller is to get a pre-approval from a lender. A pre-approval is a conditional approval from a lender that demonstrates that you’re a qualified buyer, giving you an advantage with sellers over your non-pre-approved competition.
- Set a budget. Determine how much you can afford before you start shopping for a home. You may be pre-approved for a higher mortgage amount, but you may not feel comfortable making higher payments. Review your debt payments and the amount you will put up for a down payment.
- Treat your home as an investment. Your home may very well be the largest investment you make in your lifetime. As such, you’ll want to make sure that you’re investing your money wisely. You wouldn’t want to overpay for a home that’s in need of significant repairs. That’s why it’s important to do your homework to determine how much the home is really worth.
- Connect with the seller. Many sellers are passionate about their homes and want to know that the new buyers will take good care of the home. One way to forge a personal connection with the sellers is to include a letter with your offer to tell them about yourself and why you love the home.
- Get a buyer’s agent. An agent can help you with the paperwork and give you valuable advice on how to make the best offer for your situation.
- Prioritize home features. Most of us would love to find a home that meets all of our qualifications, but those who have gone through the process know that you sometimes have to make concessions. Determine the features you absolutely require in a home and prioritize them.
By taking these simple steps, you just might gain a negotiating advantage and score that perfect house.