Blog By: Leslie Anderson
According to the National Association of Realtors 2018 Home Buyer and Seller Generational Trends, 18% of recent home buyers were single females while only 7% were single males. Women everywhere are taking the lead and making decisions about home ownership based on what the best scenario is for them regardless of their marital status or age. Seeing these statistics is so inspiring! I wanted to share what you amazing women are accomplishing and hopefully lend a hand in the process. As you know, in Charleston, you can’t go far without someone talking about real estate, whether it’s soaring rental prices, an amazing new renovation, downtown construction, prices or mortgage interest rates. With so much information to process it is hard to drill down and determine a clear and focused path to a successful home purchase. If you have decided that home ownership is right for you, keep these ideas in mind:
- YOU WORK HARD FOR YOUR MONEY: Find a user friendly money management system and use it. This is an excellent way to keep track of your spending, set goals, and adjust your habits if necessary. Automate as many of your monthly expenses as you can and start saving by just adding a savings category to your budget. It takes time to organize a budget and it is not going to be perfect, but taking control of your finances is an excellent step in what really is a lifelong relationship with your money.
- FIND OUT YOUR CREDIT SCORE “FICO: “The Fair Isaac Company” Obtain a free copy of your credit report once a year from each of the three major credit reporting agencies, and you can also find your credit score by checking out this website. https://www.annualcreditreport.com/index.action Receiving a credit report will not negatively impact your credit score, and it is an invaluable tool in starting the home buying process, calling attention to your financial strengths and weakness. A high FICO score can be a money saver since you will likely be offered a better loan package.
- WORK WITH A GREAT REALTOR: It is never too early in the home buying process to start working with a Realtor. This relationship is the foundation of the home-buying process. (your agent = your rock.) Your Realtor is the first expert you’ll meet on your journey, and the one you’ll rely on most.
- MORTGAGE LOAN OFFICER: Once you’ve found your agent (AKA, your new best friend), ask for recommendations a few mortgage loan officers to interview. Different mortgage lenders offer different loan packages and can be competitive so it’s important to shop around. This is another big step, as you’ll be working with your lender closely throughout the home-buying process.
- DON’T LET THE DOWN PAYMENT SCARE YOU AWAY: Coming up with the funds to make the down payment on a home can often seem impossible, particularly when so many people have sizable student loan bills and more. Over and over again, potential home buyers report saving for the down payment as the biggest hurdle to home ownership. The good news is there are all kinds of down payment programs that can help individuals get into a home for less money down. Some loan options could be to secure a loan for 3% to 5% down payment as well as other options to support your efforts. Most lenders will also allow you to ask the Seller for a percentage of down payment assistance to be included in your offer. You can discuss with your parents or another grantor to make an investment with you as well.
- SHOPPING FOR YOUR FIRST HOME: While shopping for your first home is super exciting, try to start the process with an open mind and set realistic expectations! Pick a few of your “must haves” and try to be flexible where you can. Yes, we all love marble, but you can purchase a home and customize it later on without the markup!
Consider taking the “ladder” approach to home ownership. In other words, begin the buying process with the idea in mind that you will eventually sell this home or perhaps use it as an income producing property in the future. Consider features that not only appeal to you but prospective buyers in the future. In the Charleston area there are many up and coming affordable neighborhoods.
Whether your goal is to purchase a home within the next 6 months or the next year or two, consult with a Realtor and work with them thru the process. Setting up a step by step plan will assure that you will be in your new home before you know it.
Leslie K. Anderson, Realtor, CNE
William Means Real Estate, L.L.C.
Charleston’s Exclusive Christie’s International Real Estate Affiliate
159 Civitas Street, Suite 100
Mt Pleasant, SC 29464