10 tips for Wisconsin home buyers

January 24, 2011

Not 'that' No.10

It is a great time to buy real estate for many home buyers. Rates are very low and homes are affordable. Low rates over the course of a 30 year loan can save you more than the First Time Home Buyer tax credit that was offered, so don’t let the fact that there is not a government incentive stop you from purchasing a home during this golden opportunity.

Here are 10 steps Wisconsin home buyers can take to make buying a home reality:

1. Check your credit report.

Lending has become more strict and those with better scores can get better rates. Lenders use credit reports to determine your risk factor and how responsibile a borrower you are. Be sure to check your report for accuracy and report any errors.

2. Get prequalified for a mortgage.

It makes no sense to begin a home search with no idea how much you will be able to afford and borrow.  That’s what prequalification does – gives you a ballpark idea to guide your search. If you need Wisconsin lender suggestions, here are a few Wisconsin mortgage lenders First Weber Group works with.

3. Save your money. 

There are some up front costs with buying a home such as a downpayment and closing costs. Plan and save for these. You should also not make large purchases on credit when you are in the buying process – it could affect your credit line in the lender’s eye.

4. Talk with a lender about downpayment options.

A downpayment is a must but you need to know your options. You may qualify for some special assistance programs or an FHA loan. It is important to have knowledge of these options and have a plan.

5. Get preapproved.

How is that different from prequalification? Preapproval is a letter from the lender stating what they will be willing to lend you. Preapproval can add strength to your offer to purchase.

6. Think about what you WANT to spend each month rather than what you CAN spend.

Just because the bank or a mortgage calculator tells you that you can afford X amount a month doesn’t mean you must spend that. Consider what you are comfortable with spending on a monthly mortgage. It may be much less and this is an important thing to consider.

7. What do you need? What do you want?

Now that you know what you can afford, what kind of house do you want? Think about the style, the size, the amenities you think you need – versus the ones you want or would be nice to have. It will be very helpful in your home search to have a clear idea of what you are looking for.

8. Where do you want to live?

Very important! It will take a lot of searching if you can’t narrow down your geographic preferences to at least a county or several communities.  Location also affects value. Prices may be less in more rural areas.  What do you want to be near? Schools, shopping, nightlife? A helpful tool First Weber offers on firstweber.com enables you to search around a property to see what the neighborhood offers in terms of parks, schools, shops, restaurants and more. You can access it off any listing detail page on firstweber.com (here’s an example property detail page) Once on the property detail page click the map for a larger map and point of interest search around the property.

9. Search for properties

We’d love for you to start at firstweber.com where we include listings across Wisconsin – and not just First Weber listings but those from all participating brokers. For convenience,set up a free MyFirstWeber account and enter your search criteria. That way, you’ll always know about new listings matching your criteria, price changes or upcoming open houses: this information is emailed to you if you so choose.

10. Find a real estate agent. 

Maybe you know an agent, maybe not. You can search for First Weber agents by name, office or speciality. You don’t need to have an agent to ask for more information about a property or request a showing on firstweber.com.  But before you get serious about home buying, talk to your real estate agent about agency/representation. You have choices and many buyers are opting for buyer representation.  

So, there you go. Ten tips to get you on the road to homeownership in Wisconsin.  We hope you found this information helpful. If you have any real estate related questions, feel free to ask them using the Ask First Weber button on the First Weber Wisconsin real estate blog or contact First Weber about a property for sale.

Thank you for visiting the First Weber Wisconsin real estate blog for ten tips for Wisconsin home buyers.

photo credit http://www.flickr.com/photos/maistora/3868898458/

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