If you are going to stay, work and play in New Hampshire, I believe there is no better place than the Lakes Region. The jobs may be a little scarcer here than in the southern tier, but there is no better place to play than right here! If that means a little commute to points south to get to work, you may find it well worth the trade off for the laid back lifestyle and serenity we enjoy in the Lakes Region. The Lakes Region has evolved into a true four seasons resort area with seemingly endless choices for recreation and entertainment that will suit anyone’s tastes. And, it just keeps getting better.
If you are planning on working and playing in the Lakes Region, then you most likely will need a place to stay! My advice to our younger residents is to not waste money on paying rent on a long term basis. You truly are just paying someone else’s mortgage and not getting any of the benefit. Even if it is your mother’s basement!
This is not to say that renting is totally a bad thing. You might have just finished school and you are not sure of what tomorrow, let alone this afternoon, will bring so you may want to stay flexible. You’ll likely need to save some money for a down payment anyway. Or, you might have just moved from another part of the state and you are not sure if your new job will be a good fit or if you even like the area. There are plenty of times when renting is a good idea. You will know when you are ready to begin the process of buying a home, but you might not know quite how to start!
A really good place to start is to get educated. Take a first time home buyer seminar. You can find seminars all around the State many of which are put on by HOMEteam. You can find their schedule easily on-line. Read some books about home buying and home repair. Binge watch Fixer Upper instead of Game of Thrones. Immerse yourself in the process. Get educated!
The second thing you want to do is talk to a local lender to see if you can qualify for a mortgage. The key word here is “local.” I know you might lean toward one of those lenders on line, you know like “Rocket Mortgage.” That’s a pretty cool name after all, right? You’d like to do everything on-line because that’s the way you do things; after all, you are a Millennial! Please don’t! For your sake. The home buying process is truly not rocket science, but sometimes there are technical difficulties that need to be addressed. You could run into an asteroid storm along the way, you never know! I can tell you from years of experience that having a local lender with a friendly face, who knows you, and who you can actually go see when necessary is very, very important. And don’t be wowed by advertisements. You will get just as good of a rate locally as you will from someone on-line!
Your lender will tell you how much you qualify for, the terms of the loan, and provide you with a letter to that effect. This approval letter is given to a seller when you make an offer on a house that you want to buy. It shows the seller that you are credit worthy despite your youthful appearance. But just because a lender says that they will lend you a certain amount of money, you should look at the monthly payment to see that you are totally comfortable with it. You should never feel like you are over extending yourself!
Make a List
Once you have that letter, you can begin your search in earnest. You’ve probably already been looking on the internet and maybe getting an idea of what you really like. This is a good time to make a list of the things that you would like to have in a home. Write down the things that you absolutely need and then write down what you would like to have if at all possible. Buying a home is almost always a compromise and you’ll likely have to give up a few things unless you have a realistic alternative to Facebook in your back pocket.
Get an Agent
Once you have compiled this list it is time to get really serious and reach out to a real estate agent to help you with the home buying process. I am running out of space now so I will go into how to choose the right real estate agent for you in the next installment of Real Estate Tips on Staying in NH!
Roy Sanborn is sales associate with Four Seasons Sotheby’s International Realty and has been a REALTOR® since 2000. He writes a weekly article about the local real estate market that is published in the Laconia Daily Sun and at DistinctiveHomesNH.com. Roy and his partner, Ashley Davis, formed the Distinctive Homes Group to bring an even higher level of service to their clients at Sotheby’s. Their goal is to provide their clients with the best, most professional, real estate experience in their lifetime. They also believe it helps to have a little fun along the way.