Whether you’re a first-time buyer or a seasoned homeowner,
shopping for a new home can feel daunting. In fact, 56% of buyers said that
“finding the right property” was the most difficult step in the home buying process.1

Buying a home is a significant commitment of
both time and money. And a home purchase has the power to improve both your
current quality of life and your future financial security, so the stakes are
high.

Follow these five steps—and complete the
corresponding worksheet offered below—to assess your priorities, streamline
your search, and choose your next home with confidence.

STEP 1: Set Your Goals and Priorities

The first step to finding your ideal home is
determining WHY you want to move. Do you need more space? Access to better
schools? Less maintenance? Or are you tired of throwing money away on rent when
you could be building equity? Pinpointing the reasons why you want to move can
help you assess your priorities for your home search. 

Don’t forget to think about how your circumstances might change
over the next few years. Do you expect to switch jobs? Have more children? Get
a pet? A good rule of thumb is to choose a house that will meet your family’s
needs for at least the next five to seven years.Be sure to set your goals
accordingly.

STEP 2: Determine Your Budget

Many financial professionals recommend following the “28/36
Rule” to determine how much you can afford to spend on a home. The rule states
that you should spend no more than 28% of your gross monthly income on housing
expenses (e.g., mortgage, taxes, insurance) and a maximum of 36% of your gross
monthly income on your total debt obligations (i.e., housing expenses PLUS any
other debt obligations, like car loans, student loans, credit card debt, etc.).3

Of course, the 28/36 rule only provides a
rough guideline. Getting pre-qualified or pre-approved for a mortgage BEFORE
you begin shopping for homes will give you a much more accurate idea of how
much you can borrow. Add your pre-approved mortgage amount to your down payment
to find out your maximum purchasing potential.

STEP 3: Choose a Location

When it comes to real estate, WHERE you choose
to buy is just as important as WHAT you choose to buy.

How long of a commute are you willing to make?
Which neighborhoods feed into your favorite schools? These decisions will
impact your day-to-day life while you live in the home.

Another important factor to consider is how the area is likely
to appreciate over time. Choosing the right neighborhood can raise the profit
potential of your home when it comes time to sell. Look for communities that
are well maintained with high home-ownership rates, low crime rates, and access
to good schools, desired retail establishments, and top employers.4

STEP 4: Decide Which Features You Need (and
Want) in a Home

Start with the basics, like your ideal number
of bedrooms, bathrooms, and square footage. Do you prefer a one-story or
two-story layout? Do you want a swimming pool?

Keep in mind, you may not find a home with all
of your “wants,” or even all of your “needs” … at least not at a price you can
afford. The reality is, most of us have to make a few compromises when it comes
to buying a home.

Some buyers will opt for a longer commute to
get a larger, newer home in the suburbs. Others will sacrifice hardwood floors
or an updated kitchen so that their kids can attend their desired school. 

If you’re faced with a tough choice about how
or what to compromise in your home search, return to STEP 1. What were your original
goals and motivations for moving? Reminding yourself of your true priorities
can often provide the clarity that you need.

STEP 5: Meet with Me, A Licensed Realtor

I do my best to remove much of the stress and
uncertainty from the home search process. From setting goals to securing a loan
to selecting the best neighborhood to meet your needs, I will be there to
assist you every step of the way.

And no one has more access to home listings,
past sales data, or market statistics than a professional agent. I can set up a
customized search that alerts you as soon as a new listing you might like goes
live.

You might guess that the VIP service I provide is very expensive.
Well, the good news is, I can represent you throughout the entire home buying
process at NO COST to you! It’s true; the home seller pays a buyer agent’s fee
at closing. So you can benefit from my time, experience, and expertise without
paying a dime. It’s no wonder 87% of buyers choose to purchase their home with
the help of an agent.1

And although we’ve listed it here as STEP 5,
the reality is, it’s never too early (or too late) to contact me about buying a
home. Whether you plan to buy today, next month, or next year, there are steps
you can (and should) be taking to prepare for your purchase.

Call me today at 813 403 9873 to schedule a
free consultation!

The above references an opinion and is for
informational purposes only.  It is not intended to be financial advice.
Consult a financial professional for advice regarding your individual needs.

Sources:

  1. NAR 2019 Home Buyers
    & Sellers Generational Trends Report – https://www.nar.realtor/sites/default/files/documents/2019-home-buyers-and-sellers-generational-trends-report-08-16-2019.pdf
  2. Architectural Digest
    – https://www.architecturaldigest.com/story/this-is-how-long-you-should-live-in-your-house-before-selling-it
  3. Investopedia – https://www.investopedia.com/terms/t/twenty-eight-thirty-six-rule.asp
  4. Money Talks News – https://www.moneytalksnews.com/20-clues-youre-buying-home-the-right-neighborhood/

Let’s Work Together

Email: allan@allanstofer.com
Phone: (813) 403 9873
Address: Dalton Wade – 260 1st Ave. S.
Suite 200, St. Petersburg, FL 33701