Home Buying Tips for Southern Nevadans
Are you in the market to buy a home? With a shrinking housing supply and prices approaching an all-time high, it can be challenging for first-time home buyers in southern Nevada. Have hope! Owning your own home is possible. Read on to learn how to say HELLO to your new home.
According to the Realtor.com 2020 Housing Forecast, Las Vegas home prices are expected to drop 1.1%. The successful navigation of purchasing your first home, especially in a challenging market, involves hiring someone savvy to represent you as a buyer, deciding on a realistic purchase budget, and securing financing that meets your needs.
Consider these tips that can increase your chances of landing a home and monthly payments you can comfortably manage.
Determine your budget.
Start with a home loan calculator to determine how much you can afford. According to CNN Money, the rule of thumb is to aim for a home that costs about two and a half times your gross annual salary. If you have significant credit card debt or other financial obligations, like spousal support or an expensive hobby, then you may need to adjust down. In general, all your monthly home payments should not exceed 36% of your gross monthly income. Lenders look for a debt-to-income ratio (future mortgage and any other debts such as a car loan, student loan or revolving credit cards) of no more than 43% of your gross monthly income.
Check your credit score and address any errors.
Your credit score is a key factor in determining whether you are approved and at what interest rate. The three credit bureaus (Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion) are each required to give you a free credit report once per year. A Federal Trade Commission study found that 25% of Americans identified errors on their credit report and 5% had errors that could lead to higher rates on loans.
Research various neighborhoods.
Become a neighborhood detective. How far are you willing to commute for your job? Do you want to stay within a certain school district for any school-age children? Do you anticipate kids returning home from college or perhaps needing extra space for an elderly loved one in the near future? How long do you anticipate staying in this home? These factors may influence your choices or options. Take an online neighborhood tour to see which communities in Las Vegas might be right for you.
Select the right real-estate professional.
First find a great buyer’s agent who knows the market and who has a solid track record of closing deals. Great agents go beyond MLS listings or steering you toward properties they represent. They’ll do their best to seek out houses that may not be on the market yet but are coming soon, and they’ll network via social media or direct mail to find what you need. They will work as your advocate and partner to help you get a home that meets as many of your wants and needs as possible. A REALTOR® and a real estate agent are not the same. Learn more about the REALTOR® Code of Ethics, and the GLVAR offers a directory of REALTORS® serving the Las Vegas area.
Financing Your Mortgage
Unless you are a cash buyer, you’ll need to apply for a mortgage, whether it’s a fixed rate or adjustable rate mortgage, a FHA loan, or a Veteran’s Assistance (VA) loan. There are also down payment assistance programs designed to help first-time home buyers.
Finding the right mortgage lender and loan can make a tremendous difference in what you pay over the lifespan of your loan. For instance, Greater Nevada Mortgage (GNM) has a team of experienced loan consultants in Las Vegas who know the market. GNM’s local experts can advise and guide you through the process from start to finish.
Another good thing to do is obtain a loan pre-approval from your lender before shopping. Having one may increase your chances of having an offer accepted since the seller will see that your financing qualifications have been verified. Plus, knowing what you can spend before you shop will help keep your focus on realistic properties that are within your price range. (GNM offers no-cost, no-obligation consultations for home buyers looking to purchase or refinance.)
Once you have your financing and property identified, it’s time to make an offer. Your real estate agent, REALTOR®, or representative will be key in helping you negotiate the best terms and deal, plus they can advise you on any potential repairs or pitfalls you might not have considered.
Your offer is accepted! Now what?
Once the offer is accepted, the process begins and it can sometimes feel overwhelming, particularly with all of the paper work involved. You can ask your lender about tools such as GNM’s digital closing platform, which reduces the time needed for processing the mortgage and signing loan documents. You won’t need to drive to an office, and you can finish closing your transaction quicker, which means you get the keys to your new dream home that much faster. Once your loan closes, it’s time to pack up, move in, and say HELLO home!