Planning plays a huge role in keeping the home ownership process simple and stress-free. Not only will planning enable you to foresee the requirements from lenders, lawyers and a multitude of other professionals, but it will help you determine helpful shortcuts in the home-buying process. Our team of Oklahoma mortgage experts understand how challenging and hectic this process can be without proper preparation. Below you will find the basic questions that Oklahoma Mortgage Bank believes every future homeowner should identify and answer before purchasing a home. Thinking about these questions will help you to identify what you truly want to gain from owning a home and get you headed in the right direction towards homeownership.
Where are you looking?
Start by asking yourself where you want to buy a home. Do you need a home in a particular area for an easy commute to work? Are you moving with a family and want to live in a particular area based on the performance of their neighborhood schools? When purchasing a home, you will always buy the town first, the neighborhood second, and finally, the house third. Even with a general idea of the area you want to live in, finding an exact neighborhood or location can quickly become overwhelming. Make it easy on yourself and start by identifying what you don’t want. Find a map, make a few of copies, and grab your highlighters. A good starting point is to think about what you want your maximum commute time to be to work and circle that entire area with your highlighter. Now, you have set a boundary. You have identified an area in which you absolutely cannot make it work and an area of possibilities.
Once you have it narrowed down to a few different areas, hop in your car and drive through a couple of the neighborhoods you have highlighted. If you like the neighborhood, mark it. You can even go as far as to select a couple of streets that are your favorites in the neighborhood. If you do not like the area, mark it out on your map. Whatever the reasoning may be, knowing where you want to live can make it easier for both you and your realtor to narrow down the vast amount of homes currently on the market.
What do you want?
Once you have a general location in mind, think about what you want in your future home. Regardless of if you are a first-time homebuyer or a repeat buyer, defining what you want in terms of your future home is important. This step of the planning process is about pinpointing the size and style of your future home. One way to start doing this is to prioritize your needs. Consider what is practical for your household. Are you looking for something larger than what you currently have or are you looking to downsize? Do you need a large backyard or garage? Do you want fixer upper with unique charm in which you could really unleash your creative side or do you want a brand new, move-in-ready home where the style decisions are left up to the professionals? Again, having an idea of what you are looking for in a home can help narrow down the list of potential homes, and put you one step closer to your dream home.
Are your finances in order?
In addition to deciding what all you want in your future home, spend some time to reflect on your financing options. Buying a first home is perhaps one of the most important financial decisions most of us will ever have to make. Knowing what you afford early in the planning process of purchasing a home will save you a lot of time and frustration. A few items to take care of to help you establish your financial foundation include: getting a credit report, saving the down payment, and getting pre-approved for a mortgage. Next in the process would be securing your loan, but more on that later. If you are concerned with what type of loan program to go with, our team of Oklahoma mortgage experts are more than happy to sit-down and discuss with you the loan programs you qualify for.
How much time do you have?
Lastly, consider your purchasing time frame. Have you already sold your current home and need to move immediately or do you live in a rental property in which the lease is about to be up. If relocating for your occupation, consider when your start date is and decide a date that you must be moved in by based upon that. Also, if moving with children, giving them a little bit of extra time to get used to the new area before starting the school year can make the move easier for everyone.
Knowledge and familiarity is the recipe for a successful real estate transaction. Knowing exactly what you want and communicating it to your realtor will only make the home buying process quicker and easier.