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A previous blog post was on how much money you’ll need before you search for a home – basically going through the down payment you’ll need, the money for an inspection or inspections, earnest money, closing costs and the like.  So, you’ve saved the money you need.  What happens now?

First, if you aren’t prequalified already, meet with a Lender and get prequalified.  This will let you know how much you can afford to pay for a home.  Even IF you don’t want to spend the entire amount you can qualify for, you’ll know how high you can go.  The other calculation, then, is at what price point you’ll be comfortable.  Consult mortgage payment tables, which calculate principal and interest at given interest rates, then remember to add in a sum for taxes and insurance.  The four elements of your monthly mortgage payment will be that: PITI, or principal, interest, taxes and insurance.

It’s definitely a good idea to figure this out BEFORE you start looking for homes.  There’s nothing more frustrating than looking at homes way above your price range and then discovering you have to settle for something much less.  Plus, when you do get ready to make an offer you’ll need a prequalification letter.  If you’ve already spoken to a lender, you’ll be able to get one of those quickly when the time comes.

Price often dictates neighborhood – and property type.  If you are in a lower price range, but set on living in Buckhead, for instance, you’ll need to look for a condo or townhome.  Your agent can help you identify, in your range, where it is possible for you to live.  We can then set up a property search accordingly.

We have lots of cool tools these days for that – I can set my buyers up on automatic notification, so that when a new home meeting their criteria comes on the market, they know immediately.  But of course, I also look at the new listings every day, and quiz other buyers about unlisted properties, to determine whether there’s something “new” out there for one of my buyers.

So, you search – and if you have targeted correctly, you might be able to find your dream home relatively quickly.  At that point, it is time to MAKE AN OFFER – which will be the subject of a future blog post… so STAY TUNED!!!