4 Tips to Buying a Home this Season

Ready to put out the welcome mat? We have 4 tips to buying a home, that will set you on the smart path to homeownership.

With the holidays over, some people are gearing up to make their next purchase – a home. The homebuying season is in full swing. Below are four tips you follow to make the best homeownership choice in 2017: strengthen your credit, shop wisely for a mortgage, choose the right house and negotiate the best price.

  1. Strengthen your credit score before looking for a mortgage. The majority of people don’t know their credit score until they begin to look for a home or a mortgage. Since finding the right house takes an average of one to three months, it could pay off to use the time to strengthen your credit score, especially if it means getting a lower mortgage rate. The benefit varies from lender to lender, but a strong credit score can cut as much as half a percent from your rate.A housing counselor from The HomeOwnership Center can provide guidance on what to do to boost your credit score while shopping for a home.
  1. Shop around for the best mortgage. Not every lender offers the same mortgage rate, so shopping around is essential. Yet, according to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, nearly half of people who apply for a mortgage don’t shop around. The price of failing to do so can be quite significant after several years.As important as it is to obtain the best mortgage rate, it’s also crucial to be aware of fees charged by mortgage lenders. These fees go by various names—another reason to work closely with a housing counselor from The HomeOwnership Center throughout the process.
  1. Choose your house carefully. With a mortgage-approval letter in hand, it’s time to find your home. A market with low housing supply requires a buyer to look for a “diamond in the rough”—a not-so-perfect house that could be rehabbed to make it suitable. That doesn’t you should settle for a house that doesn’t meet your basic needs. Keep your list of must-haves front and center, but make sure they are not really “nice-to-haves.” Many housing counseling organizations like The HomeOwnership Center can provide a starter list of real estate agents from whom to choose.
  1. Negotiate, negotiate, negotiate. If real estate is location, location, location, then homebuying is negotiate, negotiate, negotiate. Unless you’re buying in the most heated and competitive markets, there is always room for negotiation. Here’s where selecting the right real estate agent pays off. Whether it’s the price of the house—probably the most important item to negotiate—the portion of closing costs to be paid or whether a warranty for major appliances is included, presenting the seller with a list of requests is important. Remember, the seller wants to sell and you want to buy. Home purchases that are mutually beneficial are made in the middle.

Following these tips and working with the team at The HomeOwnership Center will help you successfully find your “home sweet home.”

* Article provided by NeighborWorks America.

32 replies
  1. Kayla
    Kayla says:

    My aunt wants to buy a house. My mom suggested having a real estate agent to assist her. She also sent my aunt this article to give her tips in buying a house.

  2. Jack Duff
    Jack Duff says:

    I like that you mentioned to make a list of must-haves. That way, you can know exactly what you need in a house, and it will make finding one easier. I am trying to buy a home next year, and I want to make sure that I am prepared. I will be sure to keep these tips in mind as I search, thanks a lot.

  3. Dan Moller
    Dan Moller says:

    My wife and I have decided to quit renting and get our own place as we thought that it would be good to have a place of our own to raise our first baby in. I agree with you and would encourage anyone that to not be afraid nor be embarrassed to negotiate prices! It’s a way to save money which you can use for much more things, you can also keep it as a cushion just in case things would get a bit difficult in the future.

  4. Joy Butler
    Joy Butler says:

    Our upcoming move to Texas for my husband’s job means we’re looking for a new home. I definitely will be insisting that we hire a real estate agent. I absolutely agree that they are invaluable during purchase negotiations. We’re new to the area, but the agent knows what homes are selling for and how much we should be paying for the one we want.

  5. Sandra Hexner
    Sandra Hexner says:

    Thanks for the great tips to make sure we can buy a home. I didn’t know how important my credit score is such an important tool when buying a home and it could pay off to take the time to improve my credit score before or as I’m searching for a home. Buying a home is a huge dream of mine and I finally have enough for a large down payment, so thanks for the tips, so I can be more prepared.

  6. Max Jones
    Max Jones says:

    My wife and I have been shopping for homes for sale for a while now, and I think that being able to get some good negotiating done like you mentioned would be super helpful for us! I’m glad that you talked about choosing a good real estate agent being great for negotiating over a home, and how they have experience to do so. I’m going to have to see if we can find an agent to help us find homes for sale, and figure out what deal we can get on a new house!

  7. Marcus Coons
    Marcus Coons says:

    I totally agree with you in that it is important to remember that taking the time to put your needs first when buying a house can help you get best one for you. It is important to remember that being patient and comparing several houses can help you get one for you. Personally, Iw ould want to take the time to find a good agent who has a good reputation to help me find the best house for my family.

  8. Tiffany Locke
    Tiffany Locke says:

    I like your advice to strengthen your credit score while you’re finding a house in order to get a better mortgage rate. In order to do this, you’d probably want to talk to your mortgage company so you can come up with a plan. When searching for a house, you’d probably want to consider your credit score so you can make sure you look for a home you can afford and match your other requirements, such as the location or size.

  9. Ridley Fitzgerald
    Ridley Fitzgerald says:

    Thanks for the tips for buying a new home. My family has outgrown the one we currently live in, so I think we’d all like a new house. Since our local market has a low housing supply, I’ll keep my eyes out for that diamond we need!

  10. Ernest London
    Ernest London says:

    Thanks for the tips for buying a home! My wife and I really want to buy a house this year, so we are trying to get prepared. I like that you mentioned to look around until you find a lender who offers a mortgage rate you like. It makes sense you wouldn’t just want to go with the first offer. I will definitely keep this in mind as we get started, thanks for sharing!

  11. Barbera Peters
    Barbera Peters says:

    You talk about in the article how it is important to take steps before even looking at houses since it takes an average of one to three months before your credit score is where you want it. That is such a great that I would have never thought about until me and my husband started looking. It is our first time house hunting since we got married and we are so excited to jump into finding a home for sale. Thanks for the great advice.

  12. Kairi Gainsborough
    Kairi Gainsborough says:

    I love how you stressed the importance of negotiation when buying a house. I have never been good at negotiating, so this is one thing that I will be counting on my real estate agent to take charge of. It will be an important factor when it is time for me to choose an agent. Like you mentioned, selecting the right one can really pay off.

  13. Zach
    Zach says:

    These are really good tips about buying a home. Especially the tip #3, Yes, after mortgage-approval, one need to choose the home as per their requirement.

  14. Dennis Sanchez
    Dennis Sanchez says:

    A friend of mine is thinking about buying a home and wanted to get some tips before they made any major decisions. You wrote in the article that you should make sure to have a list of basic needs and make sure that the home you buy easily fulfills all of them. Especially since buying a home is a such an important decision, making the right decision could save you a lot of time and money in the long run.

  15. Marcus Coons
    Marcus Coons says:

    It really helped when you talked about how it is important to make sure you have your needs and wants clear as you look for a house to buy. I can see how taking the time to do this can help you make sure you find a house based on what you need and not on how you feel. Personally, I would want to make sure I find a real estate agent I can trust to help me with this process since it can make a big difference to have someone who knows the market and can educate me on it.

  16. Harper Campbell
    Harper Campbell says:

    My husband and I are wanting to move out of our apartment and into our first home. But since this is the first time that we have ever done this before, we are looking for some advice on how to go about doing it. It’s good to know that one thing we need to do is to choose our house carefully is to have a list of wants must-haves with us at all times. This is such a good idea, so we don’t have to miss out on finding our dream home.

  17. Frank Delaware
    Frank Delaware says:

    A friend of mine is getting ready to start the home buying process! It will be his first time doing it, so we thought it might be nice to get him some tips and tricks. I love your point about negotiating the price of different homes in the area. It would be nice to know that you are going to get the best house out there.

  18. John Mahoney
    John Mahoney says:

    I appreciate you talking about the importance of making sure you find a good real estate agent to help you negotiate when buying a house. It makes sense that looking for this can help you find the best deals on a house that has all the things you dreamed of. My sister is planning on buying her first house and we want to make sure she gets the best deal she can.

  19. Leviticus Bennett
    Leviticus Bennett says:

    I like your point that negotiation is very important and a real estate agent can be very beneficial to negotiate. I’ve never bought a home and have never been good with negotiating prices. A home will likely be my biggest investment, so I’d like to bring along a pro to negotiate for me.

  20. John Mahoney
    John Mahoney says:

    I loved how you talked about the importance of having a list of things your dream house has to have. It makes sense that doing this can help you find the best house for your needs and make sure you spend your money on a property you like. Personally, I would want to make sure I consult with a real estate agent and have them do the paperwork for me since I have no patience for it.

  21. Jason Hopkins
    Jason Hopkins says:

    We all dream of buying a home and therefore, we need to take some beneficial steps and arrange funds to fulfill our dream. We need to face some legal procedure and arrange good funds to buy a new home, apart from these we should also take some legal and professional help from different home buying companies. But while following these valuable tips from this article, we can get some essential instructions on how to buy a home in a right way. Thanks for such a wonderful article with useful information.

  22. Taylor Hicken
    Taylor Hicken says:

    I agree, it definitely is time for me to find a home. I’ve been searching for a home for the past two months. My husband was suggesting that we should stop looking, but I won’t give up that easy. I’m just hoping that we’ll be able to find a home by the beginning of summer.

  23. Tyler Meredith
    Tyler Meredith says:

    I really like your recommendation to negotiate all that you can. It makes sense that buying property or a home can be a very expensive endeavor so negotiating could really help. It’s something to remember because even small incremental changes to the prices could be a good way to get your foot in the door. Thanks for the post!

  24. Troy Blackburn
    Troy Blackburn says:

    I love what you said about how, unless you’re in a very heated market, there will always be room for you to negotiate a little bit with the seller. I’ve heard, too, that it’s so important to have a real estate agent to help you in the negotiation process because they know exactly how to do it. I’ll be sure to remember these great points as my wife and I get ready to begin the home searching process and buy one for our growing family.

  25. Bradford Snelson
    Bradford Snelson says:

    Thanks for pointing out that not every lender offers the same mortgage rate. I feel like with something as large as a home loan the savings to you with even a fraction lower interest rate would be significant. Getting pre-approved would probably do a lot to help speed up the process, so I imagine that prioritizing this step would be important.

  26. John
    John says:

    I really liked the suggestion at the end of the article to negotiate when getting a home. My wife and I have been looking at some homes for sale, but I feel like some of them are overpriced. Neither of us have any experience when it comes to negotiating a home, so would you suggest we consult with a real estate agent for our negotiating needs?

  27. Bernard Clyde
    Bernard Clyde says:

    I agree that you should start looking for a home or property once you have a mortgage-approval letter. I think it helps to know what your financial limitations are before you start getting expectations for your new home. Plus, there are so many homes to choose from that it helps to narrow down the choices and help you make better use of your time when home searching.

  28. Olivia Nelson
    Olivia Nelson says:

    I agree that you would want to make sure your credit score is good before you get a mortgage. It would seem that in the time leading up to it you would want to do everything possible to strengthen your score. I’m looking for a mortgage to help me buy a home so I’ll have to make sure my credit score is good first.

  29. Rachel Lannister
    Rachel Lannister says:

    You mentioned that a big part of getting a home is negotiation. I’m not particularly great at negotiation, as I’m a bit of a passive individual. Perhaps if I found a good real estate agent that could both identify a nice home for me, and try and get a great deal for me, that would be the best scenario for me. Thanks for the great read.

  30. Burt Silver
    Burt Silver says:

    Thanks for the real estate tips! My wife and I really want to buy our first home this year. We are pretty unfamiliar with the process though. Thanks for mentioning to negotiate all you can. I guess that is one reason that it is really helpful to have a great real estate agent, because they will be great negotiators. We will keep that in mind!


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