There are lots of things that are in your best interest when it comes to buying or selling a home (understanding mortgage interest rates are just the beginning).
The tactics that worked for your neighbor when they sold their home may not work for you… what’s trending for buyers on the national level may not be playing out in your backyard…. the ‘best’ time to buy or sell may not be ‘best' for you….
While it’s important to know what works on a high level, it’s even more critical to know what’s going to work for you. When it comes to real estate advice, diving in at the local level will open doors and enable closings.
Here are a few things that are in your best interest when it comes to understanding real estate:
- Make a List. Not a mental list. But an actual written or typed out list that outlines your must have’s and no-can-do’s.
- Become Educated. No one knows what you want better than you. It is important to have a baseline understanding of the home buying/selling process so you can work toward attaining those goals.
- Understand the Mortgage/Lending Process. How much can you put down vs. how much should you put down? Where are interest rates now and where are they going? These are important concepts to understand up front.
- Understand Your Finances. Money in, money out. Know how much debt you can handle and how much will leave you feeling house-broke (see #1).
- Find a REALTOR® (and check references). Sure you could go it alone, or go with a family friend. But when it comes to the biggest investment of your life, you want unbiased expert advice from the best.
- Look at the Big Picture. Are you in a transient place in life, or are you in this for the long haul? How you approach a real estate transaction should come with both short-term and long-term analysis and expectations.
Financial experts on talk shows can have excellent insights and tips to manage your money. But most people would turn to a certified Financial Advisor to plan major investments, retirement, and savings strategies to suit personal needs.
You may read the New York Times or the Boston Globe for certain news and information, but if you want to know what's going on around town, you might turn to the Arlington Patch or The Advocate.
This idea goes for a real estate as well. It’s great to check out Zillow, Trulia and Realtor.com for nation-wide or even state-wide trends, including job growth, foreclosure rates, interest rates, etc.
But you want detail information on public transportation, school rankings, median home prices, single-family home sales, and the variety of services and amenities available not just by town, but by neighborhood as well.
There is no one-size-fits-all approach when it comes to real estate. It requires a strategy that takes into consideration your best interest first and foremost.
Image via: DollarPhotoClub, Swapan