For many couples, wedding planning isn't the only task on hand while they are engaged ... many are also looking to purchase a home together. I've interviewed local realtor, Michelle McClennen to make the process a bit easier and less daunting.
First things first, do you work within a specific area in Pennsylvania?
"As a licensed realtor, my territory includes: Montgomery County, Bucks County and Chester County. I will assist clients who are looking at homes that are within an hour from my office since I have the best idea of what those areas are like and what is happening in their market. It is very important to me as a realtor to be familiar with the area that I'm taking my clients to. If they have questions, I want to make sure that I'm able to educate them and to help them decide if it's a community that they would enjoy calling home.
What would you say is one of the biggest misconceptions that first time homebuyers have?
The biggest misconception that first time homebuyers have is being pre-approved for a mortgage! The majority of buyers think that getting pre-approved means they have to commit to purchasing a home right away, which is not correct. Getting approved at least 6 months in advance lets you know what your financial status is, the amount that you'll be able to borrow to purchase a home and the best loan type for their situation which allows them to develop a financial plan. If there are issues, it allows you to rebuild your credit and save money. It happens all the time, buyers wait until they think they are ready and when they find out they have problems with their credit they didn't know about or didn't have enough money saved up, they then have to wait another 6 months after they truly wanted to begin house hunting. Get pre-approve early- it's free!
Any advice for couples who are planning their wedding but also want to purchase a home?
A piece of advice that I have for my clients who are getting married as well as buying a home at the same time is to stay organized! When couples are going through two major life changing events simultaneously a lot of stress and frustration is created which shifts the focus from organization. Therefore, I help them to create and action plan which includes preparing necessary documents, having our house hunting time organized and helping them to see the potential in each home. If you are not organized or focused when house hunting, the process will take much longer and you'll have a harder time picking "The One"!
Why would it benefit a couple to work with a realtor?
There are so many benefits to working with a realtor especially in the beginning stages vs. searching for homes on your own. 90% of prospective buyers start shopping online first before they find their realtor, but that can actually delay your process because you could be searching for homes that you are not sure that you can afford! Having a realtor will help you to focus on what your needs and wants are, they would put you in touch with a Loan Officer early so know the price point that you should stay in, and they are familiar with local communities and will be able to see new listings hitting the market instantly vs. the online sites that have endless errors and delays.