5 Ways to Prepare for the Spring Real Estate Market Roger Odoardi The spring season in New England is traditionally the busiest time of year for the residential real estate market. Weary from a long winter, buyers routinely tend to pounce on the market once the weather begins to change. If you’re a first-time homebuyer with little to no experience this means you’ll be up against many other prospective buyers and therefore can use all the help you can get to lock down a new home before it’s too late. The following are 5 essential home buying tips that should help your chances of landing the home of your dreams: Home Buying Tip #1: Hire a Real Estate Professional It’s always a good idea to surround yourself with good company when buying a house—especially when it comes to your real estate broker. Hiring a trusted and dependable real estate adviser can make the normally challenging process of searching for that right home that much more comprehensible, especially during the spring time when many other home buyers are actively in the market. Also, make sure you and your real estate agent have a good chemistry—you’ll be working together a lot so it’s best that you both get along. Insider Tip: Your region or state likely has a board of REALTORS® and that board of REALTORS® usually has a website with a directory. Use that directory to help narrow down who you want to work with. “A professional realtor will have the training, knowledge of laws, legal codes, pricing trends, principles and processes, in order to guide you through the transaction with confidence. From start to closing, they’ll provide consultative, objective advice to resolve issues and negotiate the best terms on your behalf.” – Seacoast Board of REALTORS Home Buying Tip #2: Prioritize Your Needs and Wants Knowing what you want/need and why you want/need it is in your best interest before ever setting foot in the real estate market this spring. Needs and wants include things like: # of bedrooms and bathrooms Garage Big backyard Deck Porch Also, remember that the physical layout of your house and property is not the only decision you have to make. Buying a new home is not just about your property—it’s about everything around you, too! Insider Tip: Create a Home Buying Checklist and bring it with you as your tour homes. This will come in handy when you sit down to weigh all of your options. “Make a list of what is most important to you? Number of bedrooms, large yard, privacy, garage etc., and put it in order of Must Have, Would Like to Have, Would be a bonus if has but could live without it. When you find homes in an area you are interested in seeing, do a drive by first if possible, to make sure you like the location and the property. This will help to narrow your search to homes that you are truly interested in and will save you time and energy in the long run.” – Seacoast Board of REALTORS Home Buying Tip #3: Get Pre-Qualified Getting pre-qualified should be among the first things you do before hitting the spring real estate market. Pre-qualification helps you know your limits in terms of how much you can spend on your new house. There’s nothing worse than finding a home you love and realizing after the fact that you can’t afford it. Pre-qualification only lasts for a finite period of time, but is a good tool to have when addressing sellers because it shows you’re serious about buying. Insider Tip: Remember, getting pre-qualified is simple and easy and can usually be done online or in person in less than a few hours. “Before you start searching for your new home talk to your lender to find out how much house you can comfortably afford to purchase. Getting pre-qualified lets you concentrate without stress on those homes that are within your price range.” – Seacoast Board of REALTORS Home Buying Tip #4: Know Your Numbers Knowing your numbers through and through is vital to a smooth home buying process. These numbers include: How much you can afford Estimated monthly payments Private mortgage insurance payments Taxes Water and sewer bills Insider Tip: A loan officer will be able to walk you through calculations so that you can figure out those numbers while you conduct drive-bys and attend open houses. “When you sit down with your loan officer, don’t be afraid to ask questions. Understanding and selecting the right mortgage program is crucial, because the terms of your loan will dictate just how much money you will need to budget each month for your mortgage payments.” – Jason Caruso, Blue Water’s Director of Operations Home Buying Tip #5: Have Your Documents Ready If you’ve made an offer and are hoping to fast track the process, make sure you have your paperwork ready to go. The process of compiling all the necessary documents can be longwinded, so be sure to get a jump on things and have all your ducks in a row. Some of the documents you’ll need include: Identification W2s Pay stubs Bank statements Insider Tip: Build a Mortgage Document Checklist to keep track of what you’ll need to close the deal. “Once your offer has been accepted by a seller, the mortgage process can move quickly. It requires close attention to detail and a little patience, as there is a lot of documentation that will need to be provided, signed and approved. To help smooth the process, I suggest that buyers complete a Mortgage Document Checklist.” – Jason Caruso, Blue Water’s Director of Operations At Blue Water Mortgage, we recognize the spring real estate market can be challenging for homebuyers. That’s why our team of loan officers works tirelessly to leverage their relationships with local real estate agents to help find you the best home that fits your budget. Contact us today for a referral to a great realtor, or to simply talk about your mortgage options. We’re always happy to help. Roger Odoardi Roger is an owner and licensed Loan Officer at the Blue Water Mortgage office in Hampton, NH. Roger graduated from the University of New Hampshire Whittemore School of Business and has been in the mortgage industry for over 20 years. Roger has originated over 2500 residential loans and is licensed in New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Maine, Connecticut and Florida.