5 Hacks for Buying a Home This Spring

Published on 3/11/2022

5 Hacks for Buying a Home This Spring

Today’s market might not be handing homes to buyers on a silver platter. However, it doesn’t mean it’s impossible to find your next (or first) home. Here are some buying hacks to keep in mind this spring. 

1. Don’t make any other big money moves

For three to six months leading up to purchasing your new home, best not to make any big money moves. For instance, opening a new line of credit could impact your credit score for a little while afterwards. Same with buying a new car or even racking up a lot more debt on an existing line of credit. Essentially, you want to keep everything stable and consistent while you go through the process of getting a loan and purchasing your home. This will keep your credit score consistent and help you qualify for a better mortgage rate as well. 

2. Get pre-approved

It’s good practice (especially in a hot seller’s market) to have your pre-approval letter in hand. A pre-approval letter goes one step further than a pre-qualification. Being pre-approved means that a lending institution has looked at all your info and has put in writing they are willing to back you up to a certain amount. This is a huge benefit to have going into a tricky market. Sellers will be more apt to accept your offer if it already has this pre-approved backing from a bank. It means you’re good for the money and they can count on the sale to go through. And that confidence in you as a buyer will go a long way in landing you the deal!

3. Be pragmatic

We all love dreaming about what house we will buy next. What yard does it have? What about an open floor plan, a fireplace, exposed wood beams, a chef’s kitchen, and more? While it is great to have your wish list, it’s also good to realize buying a home is an investment. It shouldn’t be based solely on emotions. Of course, they play a part. But distance yourself from the idea that a house you buy must be perfect and check off every single box. Instead, determine if a home is a good investment within your budget. You can make smaller changes over time to improve the cosmetics of the home. 

Another pro tip: bigger isn’t always better. If a home is significantly better than the surrounding homes, it might not appreciate as well. You might not get as much ROI whereas buying a modest home that’s similar to comps will lead to greater ROI.

4. Factor in additional costs

Don’t forget about property tax, HOA fees, maintenance, renovations and utilities. Buying a home, while a great investment over renting, does come with additional costs on top of the mortgage. But figure these into your overall budget to avoid getting caught off-guard. 

5. Get the lay of the land

Walk the neighborhoods you’re interested in. This is a great way to get a feel for the noise level, traffic volume, and vibe of the people who might become your neighbors. If a home you like is part of a HOA, investigate what all that will entail. Besides fees, what other requirements might there be? Drive or walk around at midday and then in the evening after dark. This gives you great insight into what it will be like working from home or entertaining your kids at home during the day vs. what the evening noise and busyness is like. Investigate the schools in that district, what coffee shops or restaurants are nearby, and what local parks or libraries are within easy walking or driving distance. All of this is valuable intel into what kind of quality of life you may have and how that will align with your lifestyle and values. 

Keep these 5 buying hacks in mind if you are hoping to buy a new home this spring.