Are you ready to buy your dream home in Hawaii? The Honolulu Board of Realtors just released the market statistics for Oahu, and the median price of homes hit a new record high of 795K! The days on the market are less than 12, so when you’re house hunting on Oahu it’s necessary to be prepared. Here are some important tips to help you during the home buying process. Knowing them can help you get closer to your dream of owning a home here!
Don’t Go to a Lender Unprepared
You need to make sure you have a good credit report and can achieve this by getting your reports from the major bureaus. Make sure there is nothing wrong with the reports. If there are some discrepancies you can investigate and dispute them if necessary. Pay all of your bills on time so you don’t hurt your credit rating and don’t make any major purchases during this time. It’s a wise idea to gather all of your needed documents such as tax returns, credit reports and pay stubs. Military members will need to bring in their Leave and Earnings statement if they want to use their VA loan benefit.
You Need to Get Pre-Approved
Before you talk to a realtor you should visit a loan officer to get pre-approved. Yes, there is a difference between getting pre-qualified and pre-approved. A pre-qualification is basically an estimate on how much you can afford to spend on your home. A pre-approval means your lender has checked and verified your documentation and credit history and approved a specific loan for you. The final approval comes after the home has been appraised. In this market, homes sell quickly! It’s best to be prepared by being pre approved so you don’t miss out on the opportunity to buy a home that you’ve fallen in love with.
Your lender will look at the information and give you an idea of what loan programs you might qualify for and what interest rates they will offer. You will also need to show recent bank statements and investment account statements to prove you have money for closing costs and the down payment.
Find a Realtor
Hire a realtor to represent you. There is no cost for the buyer to have an agent. A realtor will look out for your best interests, prepare purchase contract and negotiate on your behalf. They can also be an objective party and can give you some pros and cons about a home you are inquiring about. Find a Realtor you feel comfortable with and can trust. You will want to be able to communicate frequently with them so they can make the whole process of buying a home run smoothly.
Visit Open Houses and Research Online
It’s a great idea to check homes online and visit open houses. This will allow you to obtain a clearer understanding of what you can purchase in your price range and what is available in this market. It will also help your realtor understand what specifics you like in a home and will make the home buying process run much smoother. Once you share the specific preferences you’d like in a property, your realtor can find a home for you more quickly.
Plan Several Home Visits
Visiting a home on different days of the week and different times of the day will allow you to see what the neighborhood is like. A visit to the neighborhood during the day when most neighbors are at school or work can be quite different on weekends. This is when you can check out the noise levels in those areas. Also, inquire if there is an aircraft flight pattern over the home you want to purchase if the noise of planes would bother you.
Be Prepared to be a Home Owner
Owning a home can be expensive. Besides a mortgage payment, you will have to consider the cost of utilities, taxes, insurance, and maintenance costs.
Find out if the home you are considering to buy has association or maintenance fees. If so, what do the maintenance fees cover? Sometimes costs associated with cable, water, and sewer might be included in the maintenance fee. Knowing all of the costs up front will prepare you for being a homeowner. It’s not always a great idea to buy a home at the high range of what you can afford. It’s wise idea to have money in the bank for those unexpected costs that occur when you own a home.
Always make sure you hire qualified professionals to give you tax advice, home inspections, and surveys. Legal advice is always recommended when signing contracts. Need more information? Contact me. I’d love to help you find your Hawaiian home.