Do you plan to buy a home in Concord, California sometime soon? If so, you’re probably eager to get out there and start house hunting. It’s an exciting part of the process, after all.
But wait. There are some things you’ll benefit from doing now, before you enter the real estate market. Here are three things to do before you buy a house in Concord.
1. Research the Concord Housing Market Before You Buy
The Bay Area housing market has changed dramatically over the last few years, and this is true for Concord, California as well. So, as a home buyer, you’ll want to get up to speed before trying to buy a home in Concord.
For starters, spend some time researching recent sales prices in the area where you want to buy a home. You can do this on any of the major property listing websites, like Trulia and Realtor.com. Pay attention to sales prices in particular, as opposed to listing prices. This will give you a better sense of where the market is.
The median home price in Concord has risen between 7% and 10% over the last year (Sept. ’15 – Sept. ’16), depending on the source. The inventory situation has changed as well. There are fewer homes for sale today, compared to a couple of years ago. This has resulted in a seller’s market, with stiff competition among buyers.
As a home buyer, you want to enter the market with a realistic idea of what you can buy within your budget. And it all starts with price research. Visit the big property listing websites and review recent sales prices in the area. This is a good place to start.
2. Establish a Home Buying Budget
Before buying a home in Concord, California, create a monthly budget for your mortgage payments and other housing-related costs. Setting a budget in advance will help you “frame” your home search within a certain price range, which is a big time-saver.
On the other hand, if you start house hunting before you have a budget in mind, you might waste time looking at houses that are outside your financial comfort zone.
You don’t have to be a financial planner to create a basic home-buying budget. It’s pretty straightforward. Start by subtracting your monthly non-housing expenses from your net monthly income or “take-home” pay. Make sure you allow for an emergency fund to cover unforeseen expenses, as well as savings and/or retirement account contributions.
Work down from the remaining amount, and you’ll have some idea how much you can spend on a mortgage payment each month. This will also help you determine a price range to stay within, when you are house hunting.
3. Get Pre-Approved by a Mortgage Lender
Mortgage pre-approval is the next logical step to take, before buying a home in Concord. Of course, if you’re paying cash for a house, you can skip this part. But most home buyers in the area use mortgage loans, so that makes this an important step.
During the pre-approval process, the mortgage lender will review your credit and financial situation to determine how much they’re willing to lend you. This helps you in a couple of ways. For one thing, it will help you narrow down your home search based on the amount you’re able to borrow. This will save you time and energy.
Secondly, sellers will be more inclined to accept your purchase offer, when compared to a buyer who hasn’t been pre-approved. The pre-approval letter gives the seller more confidence in your ability to secure financing, which is important in a fast-moving real estate market like Concord.
Need a Home Loan in Concord?
Bridgepoint Funding has been serving home buyers in the Concord area for many years. We are located right nearby, in Walnut Creek. We offer a variety of loan products and programs to meet your needs. If you’re buying a home in Concord, and you need mortgage financing to make your purchase, please give us a call.
You can also start the application process online, using this web-based form.