Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, the real estate landscape has changed for many home buyers throughout Greater Boston, particularly for people who want to buy a house this fall. The delayed spring market turned into an overheated summer market, and properties are still seeing very short days-on-market and often receive multiple over-asking offers.
Still, many of the tenets of a solid real estate market remain the same – it’s just that some emphases have shifted. So what should you do to prepare for that home purchase in the coming months? Here are 6 things to do right now to prepare you to buy a house this fall.
1. Understand the Changes
The first thing you probably should do in preparing to buy a house this fall is to gain an understanding of the changes in house buying caused by COVID-19. Major changes to the home-buying landscape and process include:
- More stringent credit-score requirements
- Higher minimum down payment requirements
- Slowing (or stalling) of granting mortgages among some lenders
- Low Inventory with sellers reluctant to list their homes
- Increasingly more buyers postponing buying a house
- Multiple offers on prime properties
2. Check on and Work on Your Credit Score
Even though mortgage interest rates are insanely low at the moment, credit requirements are going up for many buyers. So one of the first things you should do right now to prepare you to buy a Boston house this fall is to check your credit score. If you discover errors on your credit report or a lower-than-expected credit score, you will have a few months to improve your score before fall.
Not only will a better credit score increase your chances of getting a mortgage, but it can also land you better rates and better terms. Different credit score ranges impact your interest rate, monthly payments and total interest paid.
3. Set Up a House-Buying Budget
Figure out your budget – that is important in any market. Be aware that the purchase price and mortgage payments are far from the only thing you’ll need to budget. The costs of buying and owning a home are many more, including:
- Homeowners insurance
- Property taxes
- Private mortgage insurance
- Condo Association fees
- Maintenance costs
Also, be sure to budget the cost for unexpected emergencies and repairs not covered by condo fees.
4. Save for the Downpayment
For many people who want to buy a house this fall, the large down payment – which will now likely be larger – is the highest hurdle.
Paying more down will lower your costs – the amount you have to finance will be less, and you’ll pay much less in interest over the long haul. In addition, paying at least 20% down means that you won’t have to pay for private mortgage insurance.
5. Get Pre-Approved Now
With lending standards tightening, it’s more important than ever to do some mortgage shopping. Speak with local banks, credit unions, and even mortgage brokers (who might have access to a wider array of loan products since they work with multiple lenders).
Do it now to prepare to buy a house this fall. Mortgage shopping will allow you to find a lender and mortgage that best meet your needs and your unique circumstances.
It’s also important to get pre-approved before your fall house hunting. Getting preapproved for a mortgage is not only helpful when you make an offer on a house, it’s pretty critical if you would like the sellers to consider your offer seriously.
6. Find a Good Local Real Estate Agent
Perhaps the smartest thing you can do to prepare to buy a house this fall in Boston is to find an experienced real estate agent, who can save you time and money by helping you find your dream home and negotiate with the seller on your behalf.
Make sure your agent has knowledge of and experience with the local market where you’re wanting to buy a house. Someone with knowledge of an area can also tell if your budget is realistic or not, depending on the features you desire in a home. They can also point you toward adjacent areas in your desired neighborhood or other types of considerations to help you find the right home. In addition, your agent can connect you with the many other qualified professionals that you’ll need, such as inspectors, appraisers, contractors, and title companies.
So if you plan to buy a house this fall (in Boston or anywhere else), make sure you begin now by contacting us at NextHome Titletown Real Estate! You need to be prepared for what lies ahead this fall in the changing real estate landscape. About the only thing that hasn’t changed is the fact that you need a good agent in your corner.
Find out today how our agents can help you navigate the rapidly changing real estate landscape so you can buy a house this fall. Just give us a call at (617) 657-9811 or send us a message.
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The property listing data and information set forth herein were provided to MLS Property Information Network, Inc. from third party sources, including sellers, lessors and public records, and were compiled by MLS Property Information Network, Inc. The property listing data and information are for the personal, non commercial use of consumers having a good faith interest in purchasing or leasing listed properties of the type displayed to them and may not be used for any purpose other than to identify prospective properties which such consumers may have a good faith interest in purchasing or leasing. MLS Property Information Network, Inc. and its subscribers disclaim any and all representations and warranties as to the accuracy of the property listing data and information set forth herein.