So you want to buy a St. Pete home. It’s a great area, but you know that home buying can be stressful. Here are some tips to make your home shopping easy breezy.
Check your finances
Before you ever walk through a home or talk to a Realtor, check your finances. Know your credit score, check all credit reports with the big three (Experian, TransUnion and Equifax). If you find mistakes or misreports, work to correct them. If you have a lower score or issues on your credit report such as late payments, charge offs or bankruptcies, take a few months to work to improve your score and report. Also work with a lender to get pre-approved for a mortgage. A pre-approval will be a huge plus when you are ready to make an offer on a home.
Know how much home you can afford
Of course, be sure that you know how much home you can afford before you look. One thing a Realtor will ask is a price range to start a search. A good rule of thumb is that your home should cost about 2½ times your annual salary (or combined annual salary if you are buying as a couple. BUT, keep in mind other factors like your current expenses, utilities and taxes for the new home. Be sure that you can afford the home you want. Don’t pollyanna yourself into thinking you COULD BE making enough, be sure it IS what you will be making.
Using a buyer’s agent
Hire your own agent to help you search. Using a buyer’s agent will protect you. Don’t fall into the trap of thinking a seller’s agent will have your best interests at heart. As nice as they will be, their loyalty is to their client, the seller.
Do your homework about the area
Check into different neighborhoods, school districts and such. Check on sales from the last few months for homes in those areas. That way you know the fair pricing and have an idea of how you should bid on homes you see and want to purchase.
Think long term
Also keep in mind that you should be thinking long term. If you are newly married, or planning to be married, chances are you will be in this home when you start your family. So schools are important. Also pay attention to whether a seller has done a pre-sale inspection and ask to see a copy of one for homes you are very interested in. That way you have an idea of any expensive repairs that might become necessary.
If you are looking for a great St. Pete Realtor, give Deborah Ward a call today! 727-410-0336