If you’re considering purchasing a home in the Twin Cities, you’ve got no shortage of available options. With so many choices at your fingertips, the selection and purchasing process can seem overwhelming. Just know this: before you lock yourself into a property, there’s a long list of considerations you need to think about. Not sure where you should begin or what you need to consider? At Home Avenue, we’ve been serving Twin Cities homebuyers for over 30 years, so to help you get your first foot off the ground, here are four critical home buying considerations you can’t afford to ignore:
Understand Your Loan and Mortgage Options
When it comes to taking a huge loan, you should always get multiple opinions and offers. If you run with the first loan offer you get—even if it suits your needs—you could be leaving money on the table. Or, if you’re under the impression you need to put down a substantial chunk of change to secure a mortgage, do more research into your loan options.
You might not be the negotiating type, but you’ll need to get comfortable with the process if you expect a great deal on your home. Applying to several lenders allows you more negotiating power because you can essentially pit one lender against another to secure the lowest rates and fees. But, on the other side of the coin, mortgage application fees can get expensive, and having multiple credit inquiries on your report could drop your score and affect your ability to secure the loan best suited to your needs.
Many lenders won’t charge you a pre-qualification fee, so if you’re scoping out your mortgage options, pre-qualifying allows you to get a loose estimate of your offer without the hit to your wallet. Plus, since mortgage pre-qualification only requires a soft pull on your credit, it won’t drop your credit score as the full application process will.
Define Your Non-Negotiables
Purchasing a home is no small undertaking; in fact, it’s probably one of the largest financial investments you’ll ever make. When considering what you need and want in a home, make sure you clearly define your non-negotiables from the get-go. If you go into the home buying process with a loosely defined set of needs and wants, it’s far too easy to succumb to odds and ends that might disappoint you later.
What’s important to you in your home? Ask yourself the following questions when you begin considering properties you’d like to tour:
- What type of home would you prefer? Townhome, condo, or single-family home?
- How many bedrooms do you need? How many bedrooms do you want? Will you host frequent overnight guests who need their personal space? Will you have children in the future? Do you need extra space for hobbies and recreation?
- What’s your ideal bedroom-to-bathroom ratio?
- How many cars do you have? Do they all require protected parking?
- What kind of floor plan makes you feel most at home? Open and inviting, split floor plan, or cozy and sectioned?
- Do you want a one-story home, or are stairs not a problem?
Of course, this list doesn’t cover everything you’ll consider when buying a home, but as you can clearly see, there’s plenty to think about. And, if you’re buying a home with your partner or spouse, you’ll need to factor in their non-negotiables, too!
Do Your Neighborhood Research
Do you prefer living close to work, among the hustle and bustle of the city? Or, would you prefer a calmer, more serene location with a larger yard but a bit longer commute? This tip falls in line with defining your non-negotiables because when you make your decision, you’re stuck with it—at least for a little while. If you’re currently childless, but you anticipate having kids at some point, you’ll also want to take that into consideration when performing your neighborhood research. Here’s what you should consider when scoping out prospective neighborhoods:
- Crime rate. If you’ve lived in the Twin Cities metro long, chances are you know the areas to avoid; however, if you’re new to the cities, you’ll want to pay close attention to the crime maps issued by the St. Paul and Minneapolis police departments. The last thing you need is to end up in an unsafe area when you’re unfamiliar with the city.
- Housing prices. Each neighborhood typically has a ballpark range where the majority of properties fall. If you have a specific budget in mind, you’ll need to do your research on which areas are most likely to contain properties that fall within your intended price range.
- If you have children, or even if you don’t have them yet, you’ll need to consider the proximity and quality of the schools in your area. If you plan on enrolling your kids in a more advanced school, you won’t want it to be too far from your residence or work location, as commuting may become an issue.
- Are you looking for specific amenities in your neighborhood? Perhaps parks, recreational trails, or proximity to shopping and entertainment? Take a look at the city planning commission for details on what each of your prospective neighborhoods offers.
Buying a Home in the Twin Cities? Contact Home Avenue Today
At Home Avenue, we’ve been helping Twin Cities residents buy and sell homes for over 30 years. In that time, we’ve been ranked in the top 1% of realtors nationwide for our superior service, superior rates, and superior results. When you’re buying a home, you need a knowledgeable, honest, and experienced team on your side, and when you work with us, you can rest assured we’ll make the process as smooth as possible. To learn more about our flat-fee realty services, feel free to give our team a call at 952-929-7355, or reach out to us on our contact page.