Steps to Take Before House Hunting this Homebuying Season

April 12, 2022

Woman moving in

Spring homebuying season is fast approaching, bringing with it the potential for even more demand and higher prices, all while mortgage rates continue to rise. In short, this year’s traditional selling season is shaping up to be anything but.

However, as more and more buyers enter this increasingly challenging real estate market, there are things they can do before they start house hunting to ensure they are prepared to make a big move when the time comes.

To help, our residential experts have compiled the following list of steps all new buyers should take now:

1. Check your credit score. You can get your credit report and score for free once a year and it will help you narrow down your financing options or inspire you to take steps to improve it before you start touring homes.

2. Prove you can move. If you're a cash buyer, be sure to submit proof of funds with your offer. If you plan to apply for a mortgage, you should obtain preapproval vs. prequalification before you start shopping. Bayfirst's Buyer Ready Program provides preapproval and involves credit underwriting in advance, which can drastically reduce closing times and make your offer more attractive.

3. Lock in your rate. BayFirst also recently announced it can now lock in an interest rate for up to 90 days for buyers who are preapproved for a mortgage – which alleviates some of the stress facing homebuyers in this hot real estate market. Through its Lock and Shop Program buyers can lock in their rate before a home is found and avoid qualifying issues that can occur in an increasing rate environment.

4. Save, save, save. The larger your down payment, the less you have to finance, meaning your transaction should be more streamlined and involve lower closing costs – which is attractive to most sellers.

5. Familiarize yourself with loan options. Not all mortgage products are created equal and there are many to choose from. So, before you start pounding the pavement, contact an expert who can help you find the best loan, then get you preapproved. For more information on available loans, click here.

6. Set your budget. While your mortgage lender can help you determine your max loan amount based on your financial position, in this current environment it’s smart to target properties under what you qualify for to have room to negotiate.

7. Interview real estate agents. Find an agent who understands your wants and needs and is familiar with the area you’re looking to buy in. Many have specialties, including first-time buyers, senior buyers or luxury homes, too. 

When you decide to buy, the bank you choose can make a huge difference. Be sure your bank is doing its part to combat rising rates and help you stand out in order to move in in the upcoming months.

Contact us today about our Lock and Shop program, loan options and additional tips to consider this spring homebuying season.

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