The new year is a time to achieve goals and plan for the rest of the year. If buying a home is on your mind, then it's time to start planning appropriately. Buying a home is a big decision and 2017 may just be the year to take the plunge. Buying a home is never an easy task, there are so many factors to consider and tackle. Even if you plan to buy for the summer, it's always good to start early. January is the perfect time to start the hunt and prepare for the big purchase. Here are some helpful tips to consider: 1. How Much Can You Afford? Before you find a home and find an agent, it's important to know how much you can afford. Lenders generally recommend that you look for homes that cost no more than three to five times your annual household income if you make a 20% down payment and have a moderate amount of other debt. This will help ensure how much house you can afford 2. Get Prequalifies and Preapproved To get prequalified you just need to provide some financial information to your mortgage bankers such as your income and the amount of savings and investments you have. Your lender will review this information and tell you how much they can lend you. This will help determine the price range of your home. 3. Select a Qualified Agent An agent is an important step of the process because they will guide you to your next home. They will help you with questions and concerns throughout your home buying process. Researching initially is a great start but you want to meet with an agent to help ensure you don’t miss any important steps in the process. Reach out to any Realty ONE Group agent to help with any questions or needs: http://www.realtyonegroup.com/ 4. Wants List We all know what kind of home we like and don’t like. Now that you know how much you can afford, you can put a list together of all the things you want in your home. How many bedrooms? location? yard? All the things on your “want” list. You will also need to consider your lifestyle needs and figure out what is feasible. Just be clear that you may not find a home with all your desires but at least you have an idea on what factors are most important. 5. Find a Home and Make an Offer This is the fun part. Start touring homes within your price range and put in an offer. Just remember take as much time as you need to find the right home. This will be your home! Then work with your real estate agent to negotiate a fair offer based on the value of comparable homes in the same neighborhood. Once you and the seller have reached agreement on a final price, the house will go into escrow, which is the period of time it takes to complete all of the remaining steps in the home buying process. Once it's all said and done, you have a new home! Good luck on your home shopping journey! Although the journey can be a process, it’s a fun one! Reach out to one of our knowledgeable trusted real estate professionals to help guide you on this important adventure.