Conditions may be tightening in the Eastern Panhandle real estate market— with lenders growing more strict— and homebuyers might be feeling overwhelmed at the thought of a new home purchase. Many struggle with the act of saving for a downpayment for a new home in Charles Town, Ranson, Shepherdstown, Harpers Ferry, Martinsburg, but nevertheless, it's a great time to get your foot in the front door of West Virginia real estate. How do you do that? Below are some tips for Eastern Panhandle homebuyers to consider as a checklist or timeline as they embark on their homebuying journey:
Consider the timing
About one year in advance, use a mortgage calculator or other renting vs. buying simulator to weigh if now is really the right time to purchase a home on the Eastern Panhandle. These calculators will take into account loan rates, taxes and projected rents and housing prices in our area. And consider this— nationwide, it is still 38% cheaper to buy a home than continue renting.
Clean up your finances
Planning in advance can save you in the long run of the real estate process. For instance, if you notice any flaws or errors in your credit report, you can take the time to correct them as these typically take months to completely resolve. "Interest rates remain the envy of even your grandparents," says Keith Gumbinger, vice president of mortgage publisher HSH.com. Getting in on the ground floor is a great opportunity, but up to you to clean up your finances. This year in advance is also the time to save money and pay down your debts, settle into your job as lenders like to see a history of job stability.
Know what you can afford
As you get closer to your planned home purchase in Jefferson County and Berkeley County— roughly six months out— it's time to research how much you can afford in a home. These mortgage calculators can come in handy again! Now you can begin researching typical bills like utlities and homeowner's insurance. When you know what you can buy, you know what else to factor into that price.
Three months prior to your buying a home on the Eastern Panhandle, get pre-approved by your mortgage lender. This not only shows your serious about purchasing a property, but provides peace of mind to the seller that you have the funds to back it up. "It's the No. 1 thing you want in your back pocket when you go shopping," says an economist with Zillow.
If you're ready to purchase a home in Shepherdstown, Harpers Ferry, Martinsburg, the Kable Team can be a great asset! We're happy to discuss what you're looking for, where you'd like to live, and provide you with a list of homes in your price range.
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