With interest rates climbing and talk of easing Fannie & Freddie's impact on the mortgage market buyer's that are able to qualify now should start their search before the spring market. In my area which encompasses the western suburbs of Chicago I have noticed an increase of showings in almost all my listings before the traditional spring market in April/May.
With the interest rates climbing back into the 5% range many buyers wish they had been more assertive in their search when the rates were lower. With so many events affecting interest rates where they will go is any one's guess. Interest rates flucuate on a daily basis and buyer's need to understand that you need to find a good mortgage broker such as one of the preferred lenders that I use as part of my team.
You need to make sure that you are pre-approved for a mortgage so you don't get disappointed later when you find the perfect home and find out you no longer qualify. Do a bit of homework and pull your own credit report by utilizing your one free yearly credit report or using one of the paid services offered by the various credit bureaus - TransUnion, Experian, and Equifax. Make sure that all credit reported is actually yours! If you have a common name chances are that you will have mistakes on one or more of the reports.
So, now that you have done the first couple of steps what is the next thing you need to do. Decide how much you really want to spend on housing to enable you to continue having the lifestyle that you want. Just because you qualify for a $2000 a month mortgage payment do you really want to have it?
That is a very personal decision and one that only you can make. What are your priorities? Do you want to have a vacation once or twice a year? Do you have a hobby that requires specialized equipment? Are your childrend heading to college in a year? What is your commute? Do you want new construction or existing? What school district? Near shopping? Close to church/temple ? What are your needs and wants? Do you know the difference from a want and a need?
These are just a few of the questions you need to ask yourself? Once you have narrowed down your search criteria the fun begins.
Finding a realtor that you can communicate with, understands your needs and wants and is willing to assist you in finding a home that meets both your financial goals and also your lifestyle choices.
Now comes the proverbial sales pitch....because I firmly believe in becoming a partner with my buyers in their home search, I do try very hard to listen to you and ask questions to help you realize what your priorities really are.
After all this may be one of your largest financial purchases and hopefully you will be enjoying it for many years to come and I want you to be happy with your choice instead of remembering the realtor that pushed you to buy a home that you really didn't want.