Buying Your First Home In Buffalo, NY If you're looking to buy your first home in Buffalo, NY, you've come to the right place! The process may seem overwhelming, but we are here to guide you
Buying Your First Home In Buffalo, NY
Dated: October 25 2022
Buying Your First Home In Buffalo, NY
If you're looking to buy your first home in Buffalo, NY, you've come to the right place! The process may seem overwhelming, but we are here to guide you through from start to finish.
In this guide, we'll go over some important steps for what to do before buying a home and also give tips on how to make the homebuying process a piece of cake.
Timing is Everything
While market conditions are important, your personal situation is even more. There's never a "bad" time to buy a home – the long-term benefits make home buying worthwhile regardless of the market conditions. Before you start out on the homebuying journey, ask yourself these questions:
Are you ready? Being financially prepared is critical before purchasing a home. This includes having money saved up for a down payment and closing costs, as well as being able to afford monthly mortgage payments on top of other expenses like property taxes and insurance premiums.
The amount of money you'll need for a down payment depends on the type of loan you get. Most first-time home buyers use FHA loans which only require 3.5% down. If you are currently serving in the military or a veteran, you could get a VA loan that does not require a down payment.
Closing costs can add another 2-3% to the purchase price of the home. They are negotiable, so you might be able to get the home's seller to cover them, which will save you thousands of dollars.
Can you qualify? Unfortunately, just because you can afford a monthly mortgage payment doesn't mean you can qualify for a loan. Each type of loan has its own requirements that your lender will go over with you.
Before going through the process of buying a house, talk about your financial situation with a lender. They'll ask you basic questions regarding income and will pull your credit score. At the very minimum, you want to ensure your credit score meets the minimum requirements for a loan. If it does not, your lender can help you make changes that will boost your score to make loan approval possible.
If your credit is good and you have the cash for a downpayment, your lender can begin the preapproval process. Being pre-approved before starting your home search in Buffalo is crucial. When we submit an offer for you, we will include your pre-approval letter that tells the seller that you are capable of receiving a loan for the amount you are offering. This strengthens your offer and reassures the seller that they won't be wasting their time by accepting your offer.
Determine What You're Looking For
Before you start out on your home search, it's important that you know what you're looking for. Everyone who is involved in the decision-making process should be on the same page. Some must-haves to start with are :
Number of bedrooms
Number of bathrooms
One story or two
House or townhome
You can also get into wish list items like wanting a house with a front porch or a garage or an all-white kitchen with marble countertops. Just understand that there is a good chance that the home of your dreams is not out there, at least not yet. You can always change things like the paint colors or remodel a kitchen – don't let something like that stop you from buying a home.
Your budget also needs to be considered when making your must-have list. If you have a budget of $200,000, you can't expect to find a 3,000-square-foot home full of upgrades. The good thing about Buffalo is that some areas are still very affordable, and there are homes available in just about every price range. If you aren't sure which areas have homes that are in your price range, we can help point you in the right direction.
Understand The Current Real Estate Market
The real estate market is constantly changing. When you start looking at homes, you'll probably hear the terms "buyer's market" or "seller's market," and knowing what type of market you're working with will be necessary.
In a buyer's market, buyers have the upper hand. This means that there are more homes for sale than buyers, which leads to homes taking longer to sell. When homes take a while to sell, sellers will have to lower the asking price and will be more likely to negotiate a deal with you.
In a seller's market, like we have been in for the last couple of years, sellers have the upper hand. Homes may receive multiple offers, which lead to bidding wars and higher prices. You need to move quickly when you're trying to buy a home in a seller's market. You won't have time to wait or think things over since, while you're waiting, someone else will swoop in and buy the house. In a seller's market, you'll need to come in strong when you make an offer, it's not the time to try to lowball a seller.
Today's market in Buffalo is very competitive, however, the market is beginning to shift. Homes have been receiving an average of 8 offers – yes, 8! And most homes will sell in about ten days. However, the market is slowing down a bit thanks to fears of a recession and inflation hurting people's budgets. So, by the time you are ready to make an offer, you may be able to adjust your strategy a bit. If you want us to keep you in the loop on the market, we'd be happy to do so!
Do Your Research
As you start searching for homes in Buffalo, it's important to do your research. It's a good idea to research crime statistics and school ratings. Even if you don't have kids, looking at the schools in the area is a good idea since better schools mean a better chance of your home value increasing.
Learning the basics of how to maintain a home is smart so that you don't walk into more than you are able to take on. Small things like learning how to fix a leaky faucet and big things like winterizing a home are essential to know when you own a home. Plus, you'll also want to get an idea of how much repairs and maintenance costs are so that you can be as prepared as possible if and when things break around the house.
Lastly, you'll want to look into commute times if you work outside of the home. Having a longer than necessary commute is a top reason people are unhappy in their homes, so its best to avoid that if you can. If you need public transportation, how close is it to the homes you are looking at? If it's not easily accessible, you may want to look in a different area.
Start Your Home Buying Journey Today
The best time to buy a house is yesterday, so stop waiting around! If you have the cash available for a down payment and the monthly income to cover a mortgage, let's start looking for a house. Your first home does not have to be "perfect" – a perfect home very rarely exists. The goal of your first home is to get into the housing market and start gaining equity. For example, if you had bought a $200,000 home in 2019, that home would probably be closer to $400,000 today. That would be $200,000 tax-free equity if you sold your house!
We also keep hearing people say they are waiting for the market to crash. There are a couple of things wrong with that – one, the market looks like it's going to shift, but we don't think a crash is going to happen. Plus, interest rates keep going up. They've more than doubled this year, and there are rumors they will go up even more. The increase has made buying a house a lot more expensive. So, even if home values drop, you won't be saving any money on your monthly payment since you'll be spending more on interest.
If you aren't sure where to start, that's what we're here for! There are a lot of Realtors in Buffalo; you want to make sure the one you choose to work with has experience and knows how to get you into the home you've been wanting. We are real estate experts in Buffalo, covering Erie and Niagara counties, so if that's where you'd like to call home – let's start shopping. We also can recommend lenders, home inspectors, and anyone else that will be needed when buying a home. Overall, our goal is to make the process as easy and stress-free as possible.
Let's get in touch so we can get you moving!