It’s the Season to Prepare for House Hunting
Are you considering making the jump into home ownership?
The real estate market follows a seasonal calendar, similar to the seasons that are found in nature. As we enter fall, the market, much like what you see outdoors, begins to go dormant and prepare for rebirth in the spring.
Much of the same phenomenon happens with the housing market. The fall and winter markets are slow, in preparation for a big jump in activity in the spring. While we’ve barely said goodbye to summer, if you are planning on jumping into the home ownership pool, now is the time to start planning.
Get to Know your Lender
The question is not how much house can I afford, the question is how much house should I afford? Right now is the time to establish a relationship with your local bank to discuss your financial situation and what needs to be done in order for you to get the house you want (and the house that makes the most sense).
Areas for Improvement
In addition to helping you determine the top end of your budget (which should realistically, be significantly below your maximum amount you are allowed to borrow), your lender can help you address other criteria needed to qualify for a mortgage loan. They also look at your ability to save (i.e. do you have a down payment assembled?), employment (they are not only interested in how much you make, but how long you’ve been at your job. Do you bounce around ever few months? They are looking for stability) as well as your credit history to paint your full lending picture.
If there is an area in which you need to make changes, it is better to know now so that you can work towards fixing it prior to your home search.
The House Itself
Now is the time to determine specifics on your wish list. Do you have a particular neighbourhood in mind? What sort of property type do you desire? What features do you need to have? What would you like to have?
How do all of these criteria fit in to your budget? If they don’t, now is the time to match up your wish list with what your budget allows- and to recognize that you may need to compromise on a few items here and there.