Moving to a new area? Just sold your home? Have a family and a dog who need room to live and play? Trying to lock in a low-interest rate?
Whatever the reason, sometimes you need to buy a home fast.
Let’s waste no time by looking at the 5 keys to buying a new house fast.
1. Get Finances in Order
Starting with finances means fewer surprises later.
Find Available Cash
Make note of where your cash is. Like most people, you likely have cash in multiple places: savings, money markets, checking, investments, Roth IRA (for 1st-time homebuyers).
Of this money, what can you access quickly without penalties? You don’t have to pool your money in one account yet, but know what you’re working with.
If you haven’t sold your home already, research your options. The more cash you can put down, the better you’ll come out financially.
Set Your Budget
Consider what you can afford.
Look at your overall budget. What percent can you put toward housing?
Remember not to max yourself out, especially if you’re a first-time buyer. Utilities, upkeep, and maintenance may be more depending on what you buy.
Get documents together
You’ll need proof of income.
If you’re self-employed make sure your financial statements are all neat and complete. If you’re an employee, request/save your most recent pay stubs.
If you have retirement accounts and other assets, start saving/collecting proof of ownership.
Start a file. Electronic should suffice at this point.
Get pre-approved for a home loan
Find a lender with reasonable terms. Be responsive and get that pre-approval letter.
Without it, many sellers and agents won’t work with you.
2. Be clear on your “must haves” vs. your “that would be nices”
When you need to buy fast, this needs to be crystal clear in your mind. If you’re buying with someone, have a thorough discussion.
Make a chart. Label one side “must have”. Label the other “would be nice”.
Make a list. Agree upon it. And then show it to your agent so everyone’s on the same page.
Don’t waste time looking at homes that are missing your “must haves”.
3. Look in High Inventory Areas
It’s supply and demand at its finest. In areas where supply’s limited sellers will try to get more for their homes.
You may be competing with more buyers — bidding wars.
Instead, look for pockets of high inventory. Neighbors competing with neighbors to sell their homes means more options for you in a small area with more competitive pricing.
4. Work with a Responsive Agent
Interview your agent. Read their reviews. Be clear up front that you’re looking to buy a new house fast.
A slow or overbooked agent makes the process of buying a new house crawl.
Look for a high-octane, energetic realtor with a team around him/her to keep things moving.
5. Be responsive
Little can get done without your say. Respond quickly to messages to keep the process moving.