By Shana Fischer
2008. It was a year that shattered the country’s economy and brought the housing market to its knees. Arizona suffered the worst losses. We saw some of the nation’s highest foreclosure numbers and home prices plummeted. What a difference a few years makes! 2017 is shaping up to be a banner year for home sales. According to Realtor.com, Arizona will be the number on housing market in the country. Real estate experts say you can expect home prices to rise nearly six percent and sales prices to increase by about seven percent. Low interest rates and the fewer foreclosed properties account for the turnaround.
So if you have been thinking of that dream home, the Phoenix-area is looking like an ideal place to buy. But, before you start picking out paint colors and furniture, there are some important things to keep in mind to make sure your home buying experience goes smoothly.
Start by improving your credit score.
First, learn your credit score. You can get that for free. (annualcreditreport.com) A credit score of 620 is considered good enough to qualify for a home, but it doesn’t mean you will qualify for the best interest rate. To get your credit score on the move in the right direction, experts say make sure you pay your bills on time, watch credit card balances, and use your credit cards but pay them off. Raising your score takes time so be patient.
Get pre-approved for a mortgage.
Getting pre-approval is like telling sellers you are serious and can be trusted. A pre-approval also lets you know how much of a down payment you will need for the house you want and the monthly payment you can afford. Work with a professional lender like Alliance Home Loans. Their mortgage brokers can help you navigate the tricky world of mortgages. A mortgage broker can help you lock in the best rate, decide whether you should do a 15 year or 30 year fixed mortgage, or find non-conventional loans.
We Recommend: Alliance Home Loans
Start saving early for a down payment.
Skip those daily lattes at that overpriced coffee shop, don’t go overboard at your favorite big box store buying things you don’t need… in other words, start putting some money aside every week. Being tough on your wallet gets you one step closer to that dream home.
Hire a Realtor.
Using a professional and not your cousin’s friend’s sister who kinda sells homes on the side will ensure your outcome is a positive one. Realtors like DeLex Realty will be your advocate. They can manage your expectations, make sure you’re paying a fair price, and negotiate on your behalf with the seller or seller’s agent. They know the Valley well and they have a team of agents that can find the home you’ve always wanted in the neighborhood you love.
Get a home inspection.
Nothing will dash your hopes of being a homeowner like finding the perfect home only to find out later you bought a money pit. A home inspection will identify any structural problems, air and heating issues, or plumbing problems. Once the inspection is complete, you can negotiate with the seller to cover the costs or deduct the costs from the sale price. If you decide to deduct the costs make sure you use licensed companies to do any repairs. Precision Air and Heating can install new units, repair older ones, and also tackle home insulation issues. They are family owned and offer 24 hour emergency service. They also earned the title of number one residential air and heating company in Arizona.
We Recommend: Precision Air & Heating
Choose a title agency.
The title agency is responsible for all of the legal documents that go along with buying a home. Sometimes your mortgage company may recommend a title company. You do have the right to choose your own. Do your research. Ask for referrals. Great American Title Agency has several branches in the Phoenix-Metro area. They have been in Arizona since 1998 and offer award-winning services. They also have a unique program that allows you to donate 7.5% of any non-discounted basic escrow rate to a pre-approved non-profit.
Buying a home can be stressful. While you can’t eliminate all of the “OMG, what did we just do” moments, you can keep them to a minimum. Taking your time to make sound choices, doing your research, and asking the right questions will put you in that perfect home.