Known for its unique and beautiful land, tree-covered mountains, pristine lakes, and community culture that complements the actively growing real estate business, North Idaho is a geographical area straight out of your dreams.
Want to become a permanent resident of North Idaho and live your life in the home of your dreams? Here’s the ultimate guide to buying a home in this town.
Why buy a home in North Idaho?
If you are someone with a desire to live in a location that is surrounded by nature but also wants to be a part of a booming community of business and real estate, North Idaho can be the perfect place for you.
The city of Coeur d’Alene, the heart of it all, is surrounded by mid and small-sized serene and safe towns like Sandpoint and Hayden lake. The city majorly makes up the north part of Idaho.
Here are some reasons to shift to North Idaho;
- Outdoor living style. The cities and towns of North Idaho are known to be surrounded by wilderness that accommodates an unmatchable outdoor living style. Since there are also many lakes and rivers in the area, the residents of the area often opt for water sports to spend some leisure time. All in all, North Idaho is for those who want to live and play in the lap of mother earth.
- Proud small-town culture. The towns of North Idaho take pride in their small-town culture. Since the communities of the towns are extremely close-knit and well-supported, the crime rate is also pretty low in the areas. This is, thus, among the popular choices of young professionals and families alike.
- Rich amenities for a better life. There’s nothing that North Idaho cannot offer you. From universities to home depot, from shopping centers to good business opportunities, North Idaho is home to all.
- The perfect ‘four seasons’ weather. Another reason why North Idaho is one of the most desired places to live in is the fact that the area has the perfect four seasons weather. The summers aren’t too hot, the springs aren’t wet, falls are colorful, and the winters are an absolute delight.
What is going on in the North Idaho housing market right now?
Being the perfect combination of adventure, serenity, and progress, North Idaho is home to some of the most desirable towns to live in. Especially the Coeur d’Alene, Sandpoint, Bayview, Post Falls, and Hayden Lake Idaho real estate are witnessing a boom in the business for the last couple of years.
Many people from other luxurious locations like California are shifting to the towns of North Idaho to make the most out of the elite living experience that the area has to offer. Since the North Idaho housing market is hot, getting properties in these specific areas might look like a difficult thing.
In such a situation, buying a house in these areas needs the right kind of planning and funding. Additionally, it is also advisable to find a professional real estate agent to find the house of your dreams in this fairytale-like land that sits in the middle of the lush green forests and is surrounded by the most beautiful lakes and rivers in the world.
If you are someone who is trying to buy property in North Idaho, knowing about how real estate works and planning accordingly is a must.
So, hop on to know what to do and how to do it if you want to find the house that is perfect for you!
Six Questions to ask yourself before getting home
Purchasing a home is quite a big commitment and thus, before the process even starts, there are certain things that you should consider. Decide what your long-term goals are with the house you are buying for yourself. For example, for many first-time homebuyers, buying a house and paying a monthly mortgage payment is a good alternative to paying rent. While the mortgage payment may be comparatively higher, at the end, they will own something tangible and also accumulate equity in return.
Before the process has started, make sure what are the priorities for you and how ready are you for them. For example, for some people buying a house from where they can see the scenic beauties of North Idaho is the priority while for some others they might not want to spend as much on the house as they want to on the variety of activities available.
So, here are six questions to ask yourself before getting a home in North Idaho to understand where you stand;
What kind of home do I need?
This is the first question that any homebuyer needs to ask themselves before buying a house. As there are many options to choose from, choosing the one that caters specifically to your needs is the trick to getting this answer right.
From the usual single-family home to a townhouse, from a condominium to a co-operative, you will certainly be spoilt for choice. However, do not choose a home because it looks fancy or a particular style is trending, but because it is exactly what you need.
If money is a strict constraint for you, you can even save money on the purchase price by buying a fixer-upper that can you can later change and fix, turning it into a brand new house.
What are the essential elements I need in my home?
Since you have decided what type of house you want, the second decision in line is about the specifications of your home.
Purchasing a property is a pretty big deal and thus, you deserve to make the most out of it. You deserve a home that caters to almost all your needs and wants. Start by making a list of the essential elements, including the basic elements like the size of the home and the type of neighborhood you want. You can also include more detailed elements such as the layout for different spaces in the house.
What size of mortgage can I get?
The size of the mortgage loan that you qualify for makes a lot of difference in the kind of home you will purchase. So, before anything and everything, it’s important to understand the loan estimate of how much a lender can lend you for your real estate transaction. This step is especially important for first-time homebuyers.
The lender will calculate your qualification based on several elements like the debts that you had taken earlier, the money you make on a monthly basis, and for how long you have been in your current job.
Before buying a house, it is better to get your home loan program preapproved since many sellers don’t take offers seriously without a home loan preapproval letter. Taking the help of a mortgage broker might be an excellent way to handle things in such situations.
What kind of home can I afford?
In some cases, banks are willing to lend you more money to buy a house that you cannot actually afford. Thus, be careful with the amount you are borrowing from the bank as that will decide your monthly mortgage payment.
If the mortgage lender is offering you a very large amount, it doesn’t mean you should take all of it. Making this mistake lands many first-time homebuyers in a ‘house-poor’ situation. In a situation like that, people have no money left for their monthly expenses like food, clothing, and medical emergencies after their monthly mortgage payments.
Plan your loan wisely. Take into consideration of your financial situation by calculating your debt-to-income ratio, which is based on your monthly income, before you decide on the loan amount. Don’t just think about the monthly payments but also think about the cost of the house, the homeowners’ insurance, and the closing costs. You should also think about the property taxes and repair costs that will come up as prominent expenses in the future.
Do I have enough savings for the down payment requirement and closing costs?
Even if you get a mortgage of significant size, it is important to remember that there will be a sizable amount of down payment around 3.5% to 20% of the purchase price along with the closing costs that you have to pay yourself.
Thus, before any dealing happens, ensure that you have enough savings to bear the costs. The best way to build savings is to invest in something secure so that you get some return on it and don’t lose the money either.
When investing your money with the primary goal of building savings, the stock market is a big no-no as the volatile nature of the market can be a huge risk. Thus, it is always better to opt for things like short-term bonds or fixed income portfolios for such returns.
Should I get a good real estate agent?
Finding, locating, and buying the perfect home is an art. The purchase of a home is a very big investment, so big that many people even put their life savings in the purchase. This is exactly why there is no scope for a ‘mistake’ when buying a home. No matter what, you have to get it right the first time or you will lose a lot of money.
Such tight situations demand proper guidance, especially if you are buying a house in a new place or if you are a first-time homebuyer.
Hiring a good real estate agent can help you get the guidance that you need in such cases. Since real estate agents know the market well and they deal with the real estate market regularly, it is always advisable to hire a good real estate agent. In most cases, if you have no idea which house to buy, your real estate agent can help you find your dream house.
After you have decided on which house to buy, the agent can help you deal with the home buying process better. These professionals can help you throughout the purchase process by helping you negotiate with the seller, deal with the seller’s agent, make an offer, negotiate repairs, and even help you understand the house better during the final walk-through.
The 5-step buying process
Once you have asked yourself all the questions and have made sure that you are, indeed, ready to buy your own house, it’s time to actually take the plunge. This is where the things start getting real and you feel the chaos that comes with buying a new home.
With offers and counteroffers flying to and fro, you may start feeling a little overwhelmed by the process. But with a well-made plan and thorough knowledge of the process, things can get a bit easier for you. Here’s how things may go:
Step 1: Finding a home
There are plenty of ways through which you can find a home. The options include;
- taking the help of your realtor
- browsing through online listings on real estate sites
- driving around and go on a home search in the neighborhoods that you are interested in to find a ‘for sale’ sign
- put out some feelers with your friends, family members, and business network
Through these options, you can expect good leads to find your perfect home.
After you have collected some leads and located the houses, do not walk into open houses without an agent. It will not be a very good idea to deal with the seller’s agent on your own as things might not turn out to be in your favor.
Step 2: Choosing and securing financing
To make sure that your financing goes smoothly, it is important to manage your personal finances well. Good credit scores, a history of timely payment of bills, and a 43% ratio of debt to income that can prove your financial readiness to buy a house are essential to qualify for conventional loans from a financial institution.
After finding the lender that you like and applying for a mortgage, the lender will check and verify your financial documents. If everything is in place and you qualify, you will get a mortgage preapproval.
However, it is important to remember that even after getting preapproval, the loan might fall apart at any point in time. For example, something as simple as a car purchase might affect your credit scores and thus, the lender might cancel your preapproval letter. This is why many authorities advise buyers to have a backup lender who has preapproved their application in case the other deal goes down.
Don’t just stick to one lender, shop around and explore options in banks and mortgage companies. It can be a surprise, but both the fees and the mortgage rates can vary significantly at two different financial institutions. Choose the offer that benefits you the best.
Step 3: Making an offer
The next step is to make an offer to the seller of the house that you are interested in. Take the help of your real estate agent to calculate the price that you are going to offer the seller. Discuss any condition that you want to add to the offer with your agent. After the offer and the conditions are decided, your agent will present it to the seller’s agent.
The seller’s agent can either accept the offer or reject it. After the rejection, the agent might give you a counteroffer that you can accept or reject. You can keep on going back and forth with the agent until either there is a deal that you want to close on or quit.
Before you submit your offer, make sure to revisit your budget once again and calculate the closing costs. Calculate the costs for traveling and costs for any immediate repairs that the home need as soon as you move in.
While dealing with the seller, make sure to review the monthly costs of maintaining the house. Think about the reparations, utility, property taxes, and possible neighborhood fees. You can also ask for electricity and water bills to get an idea of the monthly utility bills.
Step 4: Get a home inspection done
In the previous step, while making an offer, make sure to ask for a home inspection contingency in your offer. Home inspections are essential while buying a house to understand if the house you are buying is in good condition or not. A thoroughly detailed home inspection report provided by a licensed home inspector can also help you understand what needs repairing and what doesn’t along with how much repair is actually needed.
As you understand the true potential of the house, you can get an idea about how much more money you will have to spend on the house after the purchase. The thorough knowledge about the home and property’s condition will enable you to make a more informed choice.
Step 5: Closing (or, maybe not)
In case the home inspection reveals anything major which cannot be repaired, for example, significant structural damage, you can decide not to go on with the deal. As you have canceled, you can move on to the next house of your liking.
However, if there are no major issues, you can expect to close. Closing typically includes a lot of paperwork in a very short period. In the final stage, you may deal and pay for things like appraisal fees, title research that has to be done by a title company to make sure that the seller is the only person that owns the property you are buying, getting your mortgage insurance, and finally wrapping up your mortgage paperwork.
As beautiful as North Idaho is as a place, finding a home here in the hot market might look like a daunting task. But with the proper knowledge of how things work, the right kind of funding choices, and guidance from a good real estate company like Will and Laura Realty, you can in fact find your dream home. So, take your leap of faith and shift to one of the beautiful, scenic, lively areas of northern Idaho to live a life that is the perfect balance of rich culture and serenity.