In this day and age of being able to shop for anything anywhere, it is really important to know what you’re looking for when you start your Irvine home search.
If you’ve been thinking about buying a home of your own for some time now, you’ve probably come up with a list of things that you’d LOVE to have in your new home. Many new homebuyers fantasize about the amenities that they see on television or on Pinterest, and start looking at the countless homes listed for sale with rose-colored glasses.
Do you really need that farmhouse sink in the kitchen, in order to be happy with your home choice? Would a three-car garage be a convenience or a necessity? Could the man cave of your dreams be a future renovation project instead of a make or break now?
The first step in your home buying process should be to get pre-approved for a mortgage loan. It’s highly recommended that you work with your lender to get pre-approved before you begin house hunting. Pre-approval will tell you how much house you can afford and can help you move faster, and with greater confidence, especially in the competitive Irvine housing market.
And getting that pre-approval letter allows you to know your budget before you fall in love with a home that is way outside of what you could or should be spending.
One of the many advantages of working with a local Irvine real estate professional is that many have relationships with lenders who will be able to help you with this process.
Once you have selected a lender, you’ll need to fill out their loan application and provide them with important information regarding your credit scores, income-to-debt rations, work history, down payment and residential history.
I'll be more than happy to recommend two or three local lenders that many of my buyer clients use, if you aren’t already working with a great lender.
The next step is to list all the features of a home that you would like, and to qualify them as follows:
NEEDs – if this property does not have these items, then it shouldn’t even be considered. (ex: yard, one-level home, number of bedrooms/bathrooms)
WANTs – if the property hits all of the ‘needs’ and some of the “wants’, it stays in contention, but does not need to have all of these features.
Having this list flushed out before starting your search will save you time and frustration, while also letting your agent know what features are most important to you before starting to show you houses in your desired area.
That said, an experienced agent will know that some buyers will falls in love with a home that has very few of the ‘needs’ features, and perhaps none of the ‘wants’, (something completely different). Your understanding agent will agree that it’s not easy to list everything on a sheet of paper while sitting on your couch at home. Actually getting in a car and seeing what’s “out there”, is sometimes the only way to decide on what you really like.
Don’t feel bad to tell your agent that after you’ve seen a dozen or so homes, that you’re revising your list.