So, you think that you are ready to begin looking for your dream home? The thought of beginning the home buying process can be a daunting one, especially in the Portland Metro area, where it can be difficult to find the home you love at the price you can afford. While the market is tough to infiltrate, it’s always helpful to give yourself that extra competitive edge by being totally prepared for what’s to come.
The first step to making sure that you are ready to take the leap into home ownership is to get pre-qualified for a home loan. This is a crucial element in the area’s competitive market, as the strength of your loan and the competency of your lender can make or break a deal in many cases. Make sure that you carefully consider how much you can afford to spend per month on housing (think, mortgage costs, utilities, taxes, HOA fees, etc.). When you have a good idea of this, you should carefully research the loan programs that local lenders can offer you. If you are considering looking into utilizing one of Oregon’s government-based first time home buying programs, you can find lenders who specialize in obtaining these grants. A great place to find this information is http://www.oregon.gov/ohcs/pages/oregon-bond-program-down-payment-assistance.aspx.
After you have found a suitable lender, the second step is to find the real estate agent that will be able to help you find the home of your dreams. You should be looking for an agent who services and is knowledgeable about the area and neighborhood where you would like to live. It’s always advisable to utilize the services of a professional real estate agent for many reasons. Mainly, it’s always a good idea to have the help of a professional who is familiar with this process and who can represent throughout the transaction. They will help you have an upper hand on negotiations, and usually have the best resources to find the home that you are seeking. Remember, as the buyer, you typically do not directly pay the real estate agent that you choose. This means that eliciting his or her help will generally come at no cost to you.
Now that you’ve gotten pre-approved for a loan, and you’ve hired a real estate agent to help you find your home, you are finally coming to the most stressful and exciting part of the process, the third step: finding your dream home. Talk to your real estate agent about the areas that you’d like to live in, and make a list of what your “dream home” entails. You may not know all of the details in a home that are most important to you until you’ve had a chance to visit a few, so this list is ever-evolving. Be sure to communicate all of your wishes to your real estate agent so that they have a clear picture of which homes to share with you. While your real estate agent will do their best to find the perfect home for you, it’s always helpful to keep an eye out for a home that you love just in case it does not fall within their search parameter.
When you find the home that you love, it’s time for the fourth step: make an offer. It’s crucial to remember that homes in this market often sell quickly, and often sell at or above listing price. Don’t be discouraged by this fact! The important thing to remember about being in this situation is that you should make your offer as appealing as you can, within the financial parameters that you discuss with your lender. Your real estate agent will be able to advise you on the specifics of the offer. When you go to see a home, you should always give careful consideration for all good and bad qualities of the home, and only make an offer if you are sure that it will be a good fit for you.
The most important step in this process is to remember not to get discouraged. Home buying is an exciting and nerve-racking process that will take time, especially in a competitive market. If you have done your research and are using trusted professionals to help you through, you will find your dream home in no time.