Buying a home in spring

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Spring is typically the busiest homebuying season of the year. Once the weather begins to warm up, homebuyers are more willing to brave the outdoors in search of a new property. Additionally, the passing of the holiday season means more home sellers are in a position to begin the moving process. This leads to more homes on the market, as well as more buyers to compete with. For homebuyers looking to close a deal this spring, there are strategies that can help speed up the process and offer a leg up over the competition.

Get preapproved
Before you can buy a home, you need to make sure you can afford it. Besides taking mortgage rates into account, homebuyers should find out exactly how much money they can borrow. This allows them to narrow their search for properties and focus on homes in their price range. A mortgage preapproval allows a lender to evaluate a potential borrower's finances and determine the maximum amount they will be able to take out. While not the same as a signed mortgage agreement between a lender and borrower, mortgage preapproval is the next best thing.

In addition, mortgage preapproval can make a homebuyer more attractive to sellers. Preapproval means that lenders have assessed a buyer's finances and have found them suitable. It shows home sellers that not only is an individual capable of purchasing their home, but they're serious and ready to begin the process, as well.

Hire help
While going it alone is always an option, the increased competition among homebuyers during spring means it can be that much more difficult to close a deal. In cases such as these, a buyer's agent can be an invaluable asset. Buyer's agents will do the legwork on finding homes that fit your needs and tap into their network of contacts to find homes for sale that aren't even listed yet.

Besides helping buyers find a home, an experienced buyer's agent can also help individuals with the contract process, title insurance and other paperwork.

Insist on an inspection
With so many homebuyers competing for the same properties, it can be tempting to close a deal as fast as possible. While it's important to move quickly, it's just as vital to ensure that a property is a good investment. Insisting on a home inspection before purchasing a property not only ensures that a home is structurally sound, but it will minimize the possibility of buyer's remorse down the line.

No matter how good a property looks or how a homebuyer feels about it, a professional inspector may be able to point out serious problems that could go unnoticed to an inexperienced eye. Buyers should keep in mind that if an inspector finds a problem with a property, it doesn't necessarily mean the deal is off. It can simply mean that a reduction in price is in order or that a seller must have the problem fixed before the deal is finalized.

Be ready
More competition means less time to hem and haw when it comes to buying a home. Buyers should be prepared to move on a property quickly once they make an offer. This means having their finances in order and being prepared to move. Waiting too long to decide on a property can result in another buyer swooping in, not to mention that buyers looking to take advantage of low mortgage rates should lock them in sooner rather than later.

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