What women need to know about real estate when life takes an unexpected turn.
Sponsored By Lisa Nederlander
Buying, selling or renting a home for the first time can seem overwhelming to anyone. But for women who are forced into the process because of divorce or the death of a spouse, it can feel even more so. Experienced Realtors like myself are here to help.
I’ve worked with many women in these situations. And while each client has a unique set of circumstances and goals, common hurdles exist. Here are some expert tips to keep in mind:
Get a handle on household finances
You must first determine whether or not you can afford to stay in your home – and for how long. Speak to an accountant and financial planner immediately. Income and financial assets – investments, pensions, etc., for widows and alimony and child support for divorcees – will play a crucial role in this decision. This is especially true for others who want to remain in the family home to maintain a sense of stability for their children.
Check your credit
It’s important to know your credit score before applying for a home mortgage or rental lease. If you don’t have a solid credit history, build one. Eliminate debt and pay your bills on time. If, however, you must move quickly, consider using funds from a divorce settlement to pay a portion or all of your annual lease upfront. Many rental properties allow this but don’t advertise it.
Get pre-qualified for a mortgage before you start looking for a new home
You’ll have a better idea of what’s out there when you know exactly what you can afford – and a mortgage company will help you set parameters for your housing search. Getting pre-approved will save you time, heartbreak and hassles.
Work with a reputable real estate agent
Many of us have family or friends who are Realtors. If you are inclined to hire them because of your personal ties, I’d advise against it. Women who are weathering huge life changes need an expert by their side rather than a part-timer. Real estate is a full-time job, and you need a seasoned agent to guide and finesse deals. Sometimes smart real estate decisions become difficult to make when well-meaning friends or family members are involved. Choose a full-time agent who is sympathetic and attuned to your needs. You’ll need an agent who is fully committed – and has the resources and contacts – to help you every step of the way.
Stick with one agent for all your real estate needs
Timing is everything when you’re selling your home in order to buy a new one. To ensure the process goes smoothly, it is best to have one agent handle both transactions. Doing so eliminates confusion, miscommunication and competing interests. Plus, you can rest assured she or he will work tirelessly to get you the best price for your old – and new – home.
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