Oy!! 2019 is just 2 days away and many people are thinking about their personal goals for the coming year. We've made it through the holidays and some people are getting ready for some major life changes. If you're considering buying a new house, you're probably wondering what you need to do to make this big step.

First, take a look at your finances and credit score. Buying a house isn't a snap decision so you've likely been saving some money, clearing debt and trying to figure out what you can afford. Our local market has been highly competitive for buyers in the past couple of years. Multiple offers and low inventory for purchases have made it difficult for buyers. While values are still very strong, there's currently more balance which means that buyers have additional choices and possibly some negotiating room.

The second most important task for a buyer to complete before even looking at houses, is to contact your bank or a lender/mortgage specialist. Find out how much you can comfortably afford to pay for a house and how much you can qualify for in a mortgage. There are many options for buyers, from down-payment assistance plans to different types of loans. If you don't have a lender or credit union you've worked with previously, or you just want to know some new options, contact me and I'll share some referrals.

Third, if you're serious about buying a house and you know what you can afford, get help from a professional Realtor (like me!). It costs you absolutely nothing as a buyer to to have the benefit of an agent who's working for you. Sellers pay our commission, but you have a professional to negotiate for you, handle contract language to your advantage and guide you through the buying process. Some buyers think a seller will "give them a better deal" if they don't have an agent. This is rarely true and can be a costly mistake.

Fourth, call me! I have access to all resources including new home construction to help you find the perfect home. I'd love to help you find a great home and I never forget the importance of what may be the biggest purchase of your life.