Are you ready to find your ideal living space? Many buyers begin their search by perusing online listings. While there’s nothing wrong with starting things off casually, there are a few more steps you’ll want to take once you’re ready to get serious about the home hunt. There’s no better time to do that than in January and February of a new year!
From careful budgeting to identifying your must-have features, here are five tips for finding the perfect Hilton Head property in 2020…
1) Know what you can afford
Take it from us: one of the biggest mistakes buyers make is believing they have more to spend on a home than they actually do. Falling into this trap is all too easy. Fortunately, it’s also avoidable. Start by getting familiar with average prices for properties within your communities of interest.
Next up, figure out how these numbers match up with your budget. That means looking at your annual household income and tallying up your ongoing expenses to figure out how much you can spend. You’ll also need to factor in all closing costs—from the property appraisal you’ll need to pay for to your upcoming legal fees. This step can be daunting, but a Hilton Head real estate expert can help ensure that your budget is realistic based on current housing prices.
2) Save for that down payment
If you don’t quite have enough for your home down payment, make 2020 the year you save up for what you need. Conventional wisdom suggests that 20 percent of your purchase price is ideal—plus you won’t have to pay private mortgage insurance if you put down this amount. Having said that, you have options, and the right financial expert can help you explore them.
Once you know how much you need (based on your preferred home type and community), set a reasonable monthly savings goal. Cut down on your spending if need be, and consider setting up an automatic savings plan so you don’t have to think about setting the money aside yourself.
3) Get to know the lending landscape
Before you apply for a mortgage, get prepared by familiarizing yourself with the financing landscape. Exploring your options is a great way to get ready for that major purchase you’re planning to make this year. While your bank offers several potential advantages, they can only provide you with their financial products and services. In contrast, a mortgage broker can shop around on your behalf.
You should also make sure you understand the benefits of obtaining pre-approval. By taking this crucial step before you jump into the home hunt, you can assure sellers that you’re a serious buyer.
Remember: the lender that’s right for you will depend on your circumstances, which is why it pays to do your homework!
4) Keep your eye on the prize
We can’t over stress the importance of getting pre-approval. That said, you should know that it’s not the same as being fully approved for a mortgage! A lot can happen between the moment you get your pre-approval letter and closing day—and some changes could have an impact on whether your deal closes at all.
To help ensure that the purchase process goes smoothly, try to maintain your financial situation after you’ve been pre-approved. That means no major purchases and no new lines of credit. Don’t forget to check in with your lender leading up to closing day, just in case they require any additional paperwork.
5) Find a qualified agent
If you’re planning to buy a home in 2020, finding the right guide is one of the best gifts you can give yourself. Your agent will be with you from the beginning of your search right up until the end—so make sure the professional you choose is the best person for the job!
While an impressive track record is crucial, so is a complete knowledge of Hilton Head, its communities, and the local market. To get started off on the right foot, get in touch to learn more about our approach to buying a home.
Ready to find your ideal home on Hilton Head? Let us help you find the perfect place. Get in touch—we’d love to answer your questions!