In 2020, Greater Cincinnati set a new record for all home sales during the year in Ohio, with a staggering 26,687 units sold in the local area. It was a 4 percent increase from the previous year, which itself had been a robust one for home sellers.
For some reason, it seems like everyone in Ohio is now moving to the Cincinnati area. While that’s great news for home sellers, it means that anyone looking to buy a home this year may have to try harder to find a great deal.
But buying a home is never a walk in the park, even in a buyer’s market. There are lots of steps, tasks, and requirements involved, and any mistake can prove expensive in the long run.
So how do you strike a balance between the practical and emotional aspects of buying a home? Read on for our top tips on buying a new house in Cincinnati, Ohio.
1. Start Saving as Early as Possible
There are many costs involved when buying a home, so you need to start saving early. Even if you intend to take a mortgage, note that you’ll need to put down a downpayment. Many lenders require at least 3 percent of the home’s price for first-time buyers with strong credit.
You’ll also need to save money for closing costs, which are the fees and expenses a home buyer pays to finalize their mortgage. These costs range anywhere between 2 percent and 5 percent of the loan amount in most cases.
Don’t forget to save for move-in expenses.
2. Determine How much House You Can Afford
Before starting to hunt for a home, it pays to examine your monthly budget to know how much home you can comfortably afford.
Factor in all your monthly housing expenses, including property taxes, homeowner’s insurance, HOA fees, and so on. Generally, these expenses shouldn’t surpass 25 percent of your monthly income.
3. Check Your Credit
Your credit score plays a significant role in your ability to qualify for a mortgage and what interest rates banks will offer. Take the time to get copies of your credit report from the three credit bureaus. If you discover any errors in your credit report, dispute them right away.
If your credit score could do with some strengthening, take appropriate measures to do so. That includes paying your bills on time and keeping your credit card balance low.
4. Explore Your Mortgage Options
There’s a variety of mortgage options with varying eligibility and down payment requirements. The four main categories are convention mortgages, FHA loans, USDA loans, and VA loans. Your mortgage broker should guide you on which of these loans best suits you.
Don’t forget to consider mortgage terms, rates, and fees. Weigh the available options and choose a mortgage that best works for you.
5. Get a Mortgage Pre-Approval Letter
Once you’ve made up your mind regarding the best mortgage for you and are ready to start shopping for a home, apply for a mortgage pre-approval letter. This letter indicates your lender’s offer to give you a home loan of a specific amount under certain terms.
The primary purpose of a pre-approval letter is to show home sellers that you’re serious about buying a home. That alone can put you ahead of home shoppers without this document.
6. Find a Reliable Real Estate Agent
A seasoned real estate agent can prove extremely helpful when buying a new home. They’ll scour different markets to find you a home that meets your needs. They’ll also handle the negotiations for you and get you a better deal than you’d probably have on your own.
Your real estate agent also guides you through the closing process.
7. Choose the Right Neighborhood
Your real estate agent will work with you to find a home in a neighborhood that you prefer. But how do you determine the best neighborhood for you?
Consider your lifestyle and budget. A condo or townhome typically costs less than a single-family house, but are you comfortable with the less privacy that comes with shared walls? Are you ready to pay the HOA fees that come with such houses?
Consider other things, such as nearness to important amenities, security, and how quiet the neighborhood is. It’s always a good idea to tour a neighborhood in person, both during the day and, if possible, at night and on weekends.
8. Stick to the Budget
Once you’ve chosen a home you like in a neighborhood you’re comfortable with, it’s time to make your offer. Your real estate comes in handy here.
If, after all negotiations, the home’s price is still higher than your budget, don’t feel pressured to sign the deal. The last thing you want is to set yourself up for financial strain down the road. It’s best to move on and find another suitable home within your price range.
9. Get the Home Inspected
As soon as you’ve struck a deal for your dream home with the home seller, there’s one more thing to do before moving out of your current home into your new home. You need to pay for a home inspection. This inspection entails a thorough assessment of the home’s structural and mechanical systems.
Find a professional home inspector to check the home for potential issues that could give you a headache once you move into it.
Depending on what the home inspection uncovers, you can make a decision on whether to proceed with the purchase, renegotiate the deal, or walk away. A home with a bad foundation, problematic roof, or asbestos is an investment you don’t want to make.
Keep in mind that a standard home inspection doesn’t include such things as mold, radon, and pests. For those, you may need to hire another professional to inspect.
Get It Right When Buying a Home in Cincinnati
Buying a home is most likely the biggest and most important investment you’ll ever make. Getting every detail right is the key to ensuring that your investment is worth the money you put into it.
Are you interested in getting a great deal on a home in Cincinnati? Please, contact us today.