How to Not Pay Too Much for Your Pensacola Home

Whether you are buying your first home, or your fifth, the process of buying a Pensacola home is a detailed, time-consuming venture. At the same time, it’s an emotional period laden with difficult choices. You want to ensure that the home you purchase meets your family’s needs now, and in the future. Each of these decisions often involves money. When you consider all that money represents, you’ll want to ensure that you don’t pay too much. This article helps you become a savvy buyer, by pointing out some of the pitfalls inherent in the home-buying process. These include such things as knowing what you want before you begin shopping, taking your time to shop, choosing the right realtor, and remaining objective while viewing potential homes. With this information, you’ll be closer to finding your ideal home.

1. Before you shop, develop a Needs vs Wants list.

Everyone has a picture of an ideal home. This would include all the features you not only need, but have long desired. However, when it comes time to buying a home, the desires cost more. While it’s nice to think about having a beautifully landscaped backyard, or a solarium, perhaps even some built-in appliances, these are usually considered luxury items, which can add considerably to the price of your home. That’s why it’s a good idea to develop a needs and wants list. With this list, begin with items you really need like adequate space, garage and number of bedrooms. For most people, basic needs should be considered first. After that, you could consider additional desires, if you can manage these benefits financially. With such a list in your hands, you’re less likely to be caught up in the excitement of the pursuit. You’ll have a good idea of what you want, within you price range, and if you can afford those additional items.

2. Get pre-approved prior to shopping.

Visit your financial or lending institution prior to home buying. Quickly, you’ll know the amount of mortgage you’ll receive. Be sure to get a mortgage commitment in writing. Most importantly, you’ll tell sellers that you are a serious prospect. Depending upon market conditions, a seller may lean towards an unconditional offer. You’ll have less negotiating power if you have to wait for mortgage approval. Banks and financial institutions have developed many programs especially for home buyers, be that first-time buyers or those with equity in their homes. When you review your needs and objectives with a lending officer, you’ll be one step closer to purchasing your home.

Buying a Home Requires Many Difficult Decisions.

Your home is probably the biggest purchase your family will ever make, and it involves many decisions that go beyond simply choosing one you like.As top Pensacola, Pensacola Beach, and Perdido Key area real estate agents, here is how the “Gulf Coast Home Experts” will guide you through the entire process, from viewing homes and financing, to making sure the final contract is in your best interest:

You will have full access to ALL homes available on the Pensacola, Pensacola Beach and Perdido Key market, even listings not yet on the MLS, through our professional Florida real estate affiliations.
Our expert local knowledge of the Pensacola, Pensacola Beach and Perdido Key area should be invaluable to you, not just in terms of real estate, but also schools, neighborhoods, the local economy, and more.

Every local real estate market absolutely has its own trends and opportunities. This can vary greatly, even one neighborhood to the next. Pensacola, Pensacola Beach and Perdido Key is no different! It’s our job to steer you into opportunities and out of traps.

What is the true market value of the home you are interested in? Is it priced too high? Is it a bargain that you should jump on? We help home buyers make decisions like this every day, and we’ll make sure that YOU get the best value for your money.

Negotiating with sellers can be stressful. We will help you negotiate, so that the final contract includes your best possible terms and conditions.

You should know absolutely everything about the property you are buying! You and our team will view every home that you are interested in, together. And prior to closing we will make you fully aware of any and all inspections available to you.

Have confidence when signing documents. Contracts are full of complicated terms and clauses that can greatly affect your future life in your new home. We will give you the full benefit of our real estate knowledge and experience.

Let us represent your best interests in your search for a new home in the Pensacola, Pensacola Beach and Perdido Key area. While you can see a million homes on the web, actually buying your home is another matter entirely. Buyers beware!

Ask us any question about buying a home/ condominium/land in Pensacola, Pensacola Beach and Perdido Key. It’s our job to help you find your perfect investment! There’s no obligation, and we promise to respond quickly…

First-Time Home Buyers

You might be a bit afraid or intimidated by the whole process of buying your first home. As top Pensacola, NAS Pensacola and Perdido Key real estate experts, it’s our job to guide you, from beginning to end.

We will take the time to go through each and every step of the buying process. There are no dumb questions!

Together, we will consider:

– How much can you really afford?

– How to qualify for a mortgage.

– How much cash you should put down.

– How to buy a home with little or nothing down.

– What it takes to get approved for financing. What banks and other financial institutions are looking for.

– How much your payments will be.

– The tax advantages of buying.

– Is renting or buying better for you?

Tell us a bit about your situation below. We’ll get right back to you. There is absolutely no charge, and we offer this to you with no strings attached.

Thinking About Buying Your First Home?
Thinking about purchasing a Pensacola home of your own? Keep these critical considerations in mind:

How long you plan to live in the home?

If you purchase a home and get a job transfer or decide to move after only a short time, you may end up paying money in order to sell it. The value of your home may not have appreciated enough to cover the costs that you paid to buy the home and the costs that it would take you to sell your home.The length of time that it will take to cover those costs depends on various economic factors in the area of the home. Most parts of the country have an average of 5% appreciation per year. In this case, you should plan to stay in your home at least 3-4 years to cover buying and selling costs. If the area you buy your home in experiences an economic up turn, the length of the time to cover these costs could be shortened, and the opposite is also true.

How long the home will meet your needs?

What features do you require in a home to satisfy your lifestyle now? Five years from now? Depending on how long you plan to stay in your home, you’ll need to ensure that the home has the amenities that you’ll need. For example, a two-bedroom dwelling may be perfect for a young couple with no children. However, if they start a family, they could quickly outgrow the space. Therefore, they should consider a home with room to grow. Could the basement be turned into a den and extra bedrooms? Could the attic be turned into a master suite? Having an idea of what you’ll need will help you find a home that will satisfy you for years to come.

Your financial health – your credit and home affordability.

Is now the right time financially for you to buy a home? Would you rate your financial picture as healthy? Is your credit good? While you can always find a lender to lend you money, solid lenders are more skeptical if your credit history is not good. Generally, a couple of blemishes on a credit report will make you a good credit risk and could qualify you for the lowest interest rates. If you have more than a couple of blemishes on your report, lenders like Quicken Loans may still provide you with a loan, but you may just have to pay a higher interest rate and fees.Some say that you should refrain from borrowing as much as you qualify for because it is wiser not to stretch your financial boundaries. The other school of thought says you should stretch to buy as much home as you can afford, because with regular pay raises and increased earning potential, the big payment today will seem like less of a payment tomorrow. This is a decision only you can make. Are you in a position where you expect to make more money soon? Would you rather be conservative and fairly certain that you can make your payment without stretching financially? Make sure that whatever you do, it’s within your comfort zone. To determine how much home you can afford, talk to a lender or go online and use a “home affordability” calculator. Good calculators will give you a range of what you may qualify for. Then call a lender. While some may say that the “28/36” rule applies, in today’s home mortgage market, lenders are making loans customized to a particular person’s situation. The “28/36” rule means that your monthly housing costs can’t exceed 28 percent of your income and your total debt load can’t exceed 36 percent of your total monthly income. Depending on your assets, credit history, job potential and other factors, lenders can push the ratios up to 40-60% or higher. While we’re not advocating you purchase a home utilizing the higher ratios, its important for you to know your options.

Where the money for the transaction will come from?

Typically home buyers will need some money for a down payment and closing costs. However, with today’s broad range of loan options, having a lot of money saved for a down payment is not always necessary – if you can prove that you are a good financial risk to a lender. If your credit isn’t stellar but you have managed to save 10-20% for a down payment, you will still appear to be a very good financial risk to a lender.

The ongoing costs of home ownership.

Maintenance, improvements, taxes and insurance are all costs that are added to a monthly house payment. If you buy a condominium, townhouse or in certain communities, a monthly homeowner’s association fee might be required. If these additional costs are a concern, you can make choices to lower or avoid these fees. Be sure to make your realtor and your lender aware of your desire to limit these costs.If you are still unsure if you should buy a home after making these considerations, you may want to consult with an accountant or financial planner to help you assess how a home purchase fits into your overall financial goals.

Your Plan

1. Find the right representative.

Even if you’re not quite ready to buy, your buyer’s agent can be an absolute wealth of information, and can often offer ‘scoops’ on local developments you might not have know about otherwise. Speak to your agent first and he or she can be helping to guide you right from the start.

2. Find out what your price range is
Online mortgage calculators are a good place to start, but as you get closer to being ready to buy, there is no substitute for a written mortgage pre-approval. Just speaking to your lender is an extremely worthwhile venture – this is the only way to really get an in-depth picture of your overall financial picture and to discover exactly what you can reasonably afford to spend on a home (and possibly on renovating).

3. Find out what your local market looks like
The internet can be incredibly valuable in doing preparatory research. Start with your agent – he or she can direct you to valuable resources and immediately start e-mailing you real estate listings that may interest you (or at least give you a better idea of what your needs and wants are).

4. Find out what your true needs and wants are.

Compose a needs/wants list that takes into consideration your local market conditions, your price range, and the advice of your real estate agent.

5. Find your dream home!
Once you’re ready to act, you may be surprised by how quickly you can make a decision. Armed with your pre-approval, a little market knowledge, and your needs/wants list, call your real estate agent, hit the pavement, and when you see ‘the house’, put in an offer.

With the right team behind you, it really can be that easy!

Your Calculator
Let us help you find out what you can afford! Our mortgage calculator will help you determine loan amounts, mortgage qualification, or whether you should be renting or buying. Complete the fields (e.g., Home Price, Down Payment, Interest Rate) in the link below and click “Find Financing”. You can navigate to the “Full Report” tab for a more in-depth analysis of your monthly mortgage payment.

http://www.zillow.com/mortgage-calculator/

A Final Word from the Doc:
I fight on behalf of my buyers.
I negotiate the absolute best price.
I protect you.
I simplify your transaction for you as much as possible.
Always remember, “To leave satisfied, you must arrive prepared.”

I look forward to working with you.

Thanks for stopping by,

Cindy “Doc” Tant