Looking to buy a home? Here are five essential tips for making the process as smooth as possible.

Get your finances in order.

If you plan to purchase your home using a mortgage, as opposed to paying cash. First, find a lender who you trust and who has a great track record of getting buyers through closing on time. He or she will help you to obtain your credit report so that you can ensure it is correct and then pre-approved for a loan. This will put you in a better position to make a serious offer when you do find the right house. If you have not already selected a lender, I have had great experience with Brian Smith of Movement Mortgage as well as Michael Ham of Churchill Mortgage. Both will give you a thorough picture of what to expect and prepare you for the financing side of home buying. Remember, interest rate is not the only factor to consider. You want a mortgage lender you can trust who delivers exactly what they promise and when they promise it.

Brian Smith – Movement Mortgage (615) 525-8094 brian.smith@movementmortgage.com

Michael Ham – Churchill Mortgage (615) 293-7341 michael.ham@churchillmortgage.com

Find a house you can afford.

Knowing how much home you can afford is a very important step in the process. Understanding how your down payment will affect your monthly mortgage will enable you to look for homes that will be a blessing to you and not a burden. A smart rule of thumb is to have your monthly mortgage payment be no more than 1/4 of your net monthly income. Your mortgage lender will help you determine how much mortgage you qualify for. There are also a number of tools and calculators online that can help you understand how your income, debt, and expenses affect what you can afford. Don’t forget, too, that there are lots of considerations beyond the sticker price, including property taxes, energy costs, etc. I am here to help you get a picture of what to expect in areas all around middle Tennessee.

Hire a professional.

While the Internet gives buyers unprecedented access to home listings and resources, many aspects of the buying process require a level of expertise you can’t pick up from surfing the web. That’s why you’re better off using a professional agent than going it alone. If possible, recruit an exclusive buyer agent, who will have your interests at heart and can help you with strategies during the bidding process. Homes in middle Tennessee sell quickly, many before they are even entered in the MLS so having an agent actively searching for you is key to getting in first.

Do your homework.

Before making a bid, do some research to determine the state of the market at large. Is it more favorable for sellers or buyers? Next, look at sales trends of similar homes in the area or neighborhood. Look at prices for the last few months. Come up with an asking price that’s competitive, but also realistic. Otherwise, you may end up ticking off your seller. I will walk with you through this process and pride myself on thorough research of neighborhoods and potential homes.

Think long term.

Obviously, you shouldn’t buy unless you’re sure you’ll be staying put for at least a few years. Beyond that, you should buy in a neighborhood with good schools. Whether you have children or not, this will have an impact on your new home’s resale value down the line. When it comes to the house itself, you should hire your own home inspector, who can point out potential problems that could require costly repairs in the future. I will help connect you with inspectors, surveyors, and contractors who can help you in the decision making process.

Bottom line

Find a lender and an agent you trust first. I pride myself on always putting the needs of my client first. My goal is to serve you well, not just to sell a home. I’m here to help when you are ready to get started!