Nicole's Top Tips for Homeownership Success
By Nicole Rueth - October 1, 2020
Homeownership comes with many benefits and exciting opportunities, both for the personalization and security of having your own home as well as building the foundation for long-term financial prosperity. The road to homeownership can be a wonderful endeavor, but there are certain steps you can take to optimize your outcome.
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If you are a first-time homebuyer, here are my top 5 tips to set you up for success:
1. Talk to a Mortgage Lender BEFORE you shop for a home
You know the old expression about not putting the cart before the horse? Well, when the cart is a 3,000 sq ft mid-century modern that should literally have a lawn sign saying “home of your dreams,” maybe it would be best to pre-qualify for it before putting a ring on that horse’s finger. If they had fingers of course. This sounds obvious but you’d be shocked by how many people pull up to houses they think they can afford and start measuring for the addition to the kitchen only to discover even a mortgage magician can’t make the loan happen for them. Besides, your real estate agent is trying their very best for you, so rather than wasting their time, help them focus on exactly what is possible because good places are selling faster than ever.
2. Don’t take “no” for an answer
Sometimes in life, no really does mean no. You can be the most persistent person in the world and keep asking in new ways, but the outcome just doesn’t change. Well, this situation is different. An outright no is an unacceptable answer so don’t accept it as such. A bad lender will just look at you on Zoom and say no. What that means is they must not care about doing business with you tomorrow because they didn’t pay you the respect of explaining the news today. A strong, creative lender on the other hand will say “not yet.” Make the lender work as hard in not making the deal as closing it.
3. Don’t be afraid to get a 2nd opinion
You talk to multiple professionals before you choose anything important right? A wedding florist. A surgeon. A car salesman. So why on earth would you just go with the first mortgage broker you talk to, whether you like them or not? Maybe they’re not going to try their hardest for you. Maybe they’re having a bad day and just want to get home. Brokers use Tylenol too, you know. The point is, this is one of the most important, if not the most important financial decision in your life. Your mortgage isn’t a Vegas roulette wheel so don’t let it all ride on one person’s opinion or personality.
As a side note to that, buyers are reluctant to talk to multiple lenders because they think they are hurting their credit score by having more than one person pull their credit. That might have been true back in the days of the FAX machine but it’s not anymore. Credit companies are much more competitive and customer-centric in their thinking. Now they treat multiple pulls from the same industry (in this case lending) within a month to be like one inquiry, all because they want to protect your score and inspire you to shop.
4. Keep your lender in the loop on any changes to your credit history, job status, or financial status.
You’ve been pre-approved. Congratulations! You can exhale. But just because you’ve checked off that huge box don’t forget to keep communicating with your lender. Keep them in the loop on anything important, good or bad, like a change in job status, a promotion, or unexpected financial obligations. Put yourself in their shoes. Wouldn't you want to know that stuff if you were part of a million-dollar transaction? All in all, people in my profession are not big fans of surprises -- unless they involve jewelry or a plane ticket -- especially because a successful close for you is the best gift!
5. Lenders don’t get paid more to frustrate you
Speaking of surprises, this may come as a shock if that first lender you met with (see above) was less than a delight but lenders really don’t get paid more to frustrate you. We’re kind of like pilots. We will try our best to tell you when there’s turbulence up ahead, but we’re not perfect, so best to strap-in. Sure, you might be asked for some information or details or documents that you think are ridiculous, and trust me, we often do agree with you. We understand that you're annoyed. We’ve had the exact same experience when applying for our own loan! Bottom line, if we ask for it that means we need it. You do want the loan right? Our job is to keep you informed, educated, and most importantly to facilitate a successful transaction. We promise we'll try to keep the frustration to a bare minimum, like the turbulence.
These steps can help you navigate the process to homeownership, but if you are looking for more in-depth guidance from a trusted real estate partner, we at the Rueth Team are always available to provide advice, resources, and support to ensure that you are able to secure your dream home efficiently and smoothly.