Buying in West Michigan
Download our Buyers Guide Now!
- More info about first-time homebuyer programs
- What closing costs and other moving fees are involved
- What to expect in the homebuying process
- Information on the local market
Getting Ready to Buy?
You've come to the right place
What an exciting adventure you’re about to go on!
I’m sure you’ve heard, we are in a stabilizing real estate market here in West Michigan.
While it’s still technically in a seller’s market, the hyper-appreciation that we’ve seen the last two years for pricing is beginning to slow for our region making it less competitive for buyers.
Our Locally-focused Agents use neighborhood search tools and great relationships with other Realtors to find you the best buying opportunities for what you are searching for.
Whether you are looking to move up, move into the area, or downsize we would love to sit down to discuss your goals and what buying in this market looks like!
How you can get started now
Some lenders specialize in different loan types. If you do not currently have a relationship with a lender, we’d love to introduce you to one based on what type of home you are searching for.
Magic Camera is real. When you are searching online some photos look better than others. And sometimes the photos don’t show what a home is really like. Don’t discount the home if the photos aren’t sparkly. That could mean an opportunity for you.
Meet with an Agent early in your decision-making process – even if you aren’t moving for 9 months.
Set expectations, but let an agent help you. They will give you the correct expectations so that you aren’t let down.
Questions when buying a house? We've got answers!
The buyer and seller will both have closing costs in a sale. Generally, the buyer’s costs will include items like loan origination fees, appraisal fees, and prepaid property taxes, while the seller pays real estate agent commission, title insurance, and transfer taxes. It’s super important to review the closing cost estimate from your lender to understand the closing costs and downpayment requirements of the loan before you get under contract for a house.
Outside, focus on the location that makes sense for your lifestyle and budget, neighborhood amenities, proximity to schools, nearby green space and road condition. Inside the house, consider the property’s general interior condition. You’ll be looking for potential maintenance needs, size of the spaces, age of mechanicals, and levelness of the floors.
The buyer is responsible for paying for home inspections. These inspections are a buyer’s opportunity to identify potential problems with the property with a Certified Inspector, ensuring that they’re making an informed decision before moving the purchase. Inspections should cover areas like the structural integrity, electrical systems, plumbing, and more. The home inspector may also recommend more specialized inspections if something specific is an area of concern (i.e. roofer, electrician, plumber)
Every circumstance is different, but for most people buying a house offers several advantages over renting. One of the main benefits is building equity, as you pay down your mortgage and the market value continues to appreciate over time. Additionally, homeownership provides stability of payment, the freedom to personalize your home, and potential tax benefits.
Generally, buying a house can be a good investment, especially if you plan to live in the property for an extended period. Real estate tends to appreciate over time, allowing homeowners to build wealth. However, the profitability of the investment also depends on factors like the local housing market, property maintenance, property location, and economic conditions.
Buying a house takes several steps. Start by meeting with Realtor to chat about what you are looking for. They can give guidance and connect you with a lender that specializes in your type of purchase. Then you’ll want to get pre-approved by a lender so you know what you can afford to purchase. Then the house hunting begins! Once you find a suitable property, your Realtor will make an offer, negotiate with the seller, and enter into a purchase agreement. Then, you complete inspections, your lender will order a home appraisal to confirm the value of the house, and you’ll be completing about 8,000 loan documents along the way. Finally, you go through the closing process, where ownership of the property is transferred to you.
We highly recommend connecting with one of our real estate agents or downloading our buyer’s guide above to get a better understanding of the process.
While it is possible to buy a house without a down payment, it’s less common and can be more challenging. Some government-backed loan programs, like USDA and VA loans, offer options with little to no down payment. However, most conventional lenders typically require a down payment, which can vary depending on your creditworthiness and the loan type.
Buying a house with bad credit can be more difficult, but it’s not impossible. You can apply for government-backed loans or exploring rent-to-own programs. Additionally, saving for a larger down payment and working to improve your credit score can increase your chances of qualifying for a mortgage.
Yes, it’s possible to buy a house without a Realtor, but it can be a complex process. A real estate agent provides valuable expertise and helps navigate negotiations, paperwork, and help you save time and money in the process. If you decide to buy without an agent, you’ll need to take on these responsibilities yourself, which may require significant research and knowledge of the homebuying process.
For many, this is the biggest transaction of your life where you plan to spend many years of your life – we highly recommend you hire a Realtor who navigates these transactions every day to help.
Whether buying a house is better than renting depends on individual circumstances and goals. As mentioned earlier, buying offers the advantage of building equity and potential long-term financial benefits. However, renting can provide more flexibility, lower upfront costs, and freedom from maintenance responsibilities. Consider your financial situation, lifestyle, and future plans when making this decision.
Buying a house is good or bad depending on various personal circumstances, including your financial situation, the local housing market conditions, and personal preferences. For many people, homeownership can be a positive and rewarding experience, while others may prefer the flexibility and lower upfront costs associated with renting. If you’re on the fence, meet with a local Realtor to help weigh the pros and cons based on your unique circumstances.
A property survey is not always required, but it is highly recommended. A survey helps identify the boundaries of the property, any encroachments, and potential property line disputes. It can also reveal easements or other restrictions that may affect your use of the land. Having a survey done before purchasing a property ensures you are fully aware of what you are buying.
The main difference between buying a house and buying a condo is property ownership and rules to living in that property. When you purchase a single family house, you own the entire structure and the land it sits on. When you buy a condo, you own the individual unit within a larger complex, and the land and common areas are shared among all condo owners. Condos often come with shared rules, amenities, and maintenance fees.
Yes, you can buy a house and a car at the same time but it is not at all recommended. These two purchases happening at the same time will impact your credit and overall financial stability. If your credit score and/or debt amount changes you could be denied for one or both of these purchases based on the other one currently happening.
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