You’ve planned, saved, and downloaded Real Estate apps, logging hours daydreaming, and searching. But this is it, this is the year. You’re finally ready to jump in and buy a home. Congratulations!
Before you head out there to claim your special, perfect house, there are things you need to know and do to get ready. Like any competition, participation in the Spring Homebuying Season doesn’t work for the unprepared.
Fortunately, everyone at Point Equity wants to see you win the home buying competition season this year. And to help, we wrote this article sharing all the important information you need to know and the critical pre-work you need to do. Read on, because you’re this close to owning a home.
Why is Spring “The” Home Buying Season?
Even though different geographic regions may have unique real estate seasons, peak home buying in the spring is universal. Across the country, in our state, and region, many sellers are prepping their homes for the spring market.
And, a lot of buyers are preparing to look, offer, and buy one of those homes. There are a few reasons that so many buyers and sellers hit the market in spring.
School Schedules - Buyers and sellers, both, are motivated by the late summer/early fall start of the school year. Looking for a home in the spring is the perfect time for families with school-age children who are laser-focused on buying, moving, and settling in before the next school year begins.
They’re even willing to commute to the old school for a couple of months if they can find their perfect home. A serious buyer, with or without school-age children, will be competing with all those house-hunting families in the spring.
Weather - In the spring, nature puts on a little make-up which helps improve curb appeal, especially in California when the Golden State turns green. Who doesn’t look good with some make-up and a new hair-do?
From April through June, homes in Loomis, Lincoln, Woodland, and other rural areas shine in springtime. That’s another incentive for sellers to list their homes for sale during the spring. With more homes for sale, more buyers are lured into the market to compete to purchase one of those homes.
But weather is unpredictable and a late spring will impact the start of this popular homebuying season. Don’t be fooled into thinking you’ll be the only one in the market, though, because school year considerations will still push home buyers into the market.
So Much Inventory - It’s a surge - of sellers! If you want to sell your home for top dollar, you need to have the largest audience possible! That’s why the combination of nature’s annual spring blossoming and many buyers looking to move before a new school year is great for sellers.
As a buyer, the more homes listed for sale the more chances you’ll have to find the perfect home and have your offer accepted. And so will all the other buyer’s house-hunting in the spring...
Interest Rates - While interest rates aren’t seasonal, they can definitely impact the spring homebuying season. When rates are low, more potential buyers can afford to become actual buyers. More buyers equal more competition.
But rising interest rates lower the affordability of homes for some buyers, pushing them out of the market completely. Other buyers will see a reduction in the maximum purchase price they can afford. Ultimately, with higher rates, the qualified springtime buyers present stiff competition.
How to Compete in Spring Home Buying Season
Before buyers start hitting the spring open houses and writing offers to purchase homes, there’s work to do. Without doing this work, they’re just window shopping. No one takes an unprepared buyer, or their offers, seriously.
So what’s the work you need to do?
Get mortgage ready. That means getting pre-approved by a Loan Officer who will do a full analysis of your financial situation. That’s how you’ll know your “Number” - how much of a mortgage you qualify for and your maximum home purchase price.
To prepare, and minimize the stress and time involved, here are pre-meeting steps to take:
1. Savings/Downpayment. You’ll need to know exactly how much you have available for the downpayment and closing costs. When you’re preparing to buy in the spring, it’s too late to set a savings goal.
If you’re receiving gift money, from parents or immediate family members, make sure you know the exact amount. And make sure the gift money is liquid and readily available but don’t begin the process of receiving the gift money until you’ve met with the Loan Officer.
2. Gather your paperwork. Have the documentation the Loan Officer needs available when you meet. Help them help you! Each person’s situation is slightly different, but in general, this list will work:
The most recent full month paystub(s)
Last two years W-2’s
Last two years full tax returns (if your income isn’t flat salary)
Most recent two months (or last quarterly) bank/asset statements, all accounts.
Landlord contact information and proof of on-time rent payments.
3. Credit History. The Loan Officer needs a complete credit report in order to give you a pre-approval. In fact, they won’t be able to tell you what you qualify for - your number - without a credit report.
You’ll want to check your credit history with a consumer credit report but it won’t have the credit score the Loan Officer needs. Use the consumer report to check for errors or late payments you may not have known about
This gives you time to do any necessary research and document anything you find before the Loan Officer pulls the official mortgage credit report.
4. Select Your Loan Officer. A mortgage credit report pull is something that should not happen multiple times. Yet, as we noted above, Loan Officers need to pull your credit report in order to pre-approve you for a loan.
To limit the number of pulls, do a thorough job of choosing a Loan Officer for your home buying team. Gather recommendations (from family, accountant, and real estate agent) and interview each one to find the most knowledgeable individual you’re comfortable with.
Everyone on the team will be working together to help you find, buy, and move into your home this spring!
Get comfortable with your Number
Once you’re qualified and know your “number” it’s time to find your home. With all of the buyers in the market during the spring homebuying season, knowing your “number” lets you can concentrate on finding a home. Once you find it, you can make a strong offer that shows the sellers how qualified you are to buy their home!
Now that you know what to do to get ready, it’s time to start! Spring will be here before you know it.