Spring is in the air and home buyers are starting to surface. But this spring housing market will be like no other! It has been said that this spring housing market will be even more competitive than that of the Great Recession. So grab your wallet, your realtor, and a preapproved mortgage loan and hit the ground running! Since there will be a record low number of houses on the market this spring you will need a competitive edge. Don’t worry, as long as you follow these highly advised steps you will more than likely be way ahead of the other home buyers, giving you the competitive edge that you will need.

First of all before you even start looking for a house it’s crucial that you have an emergency fund set aside for unexpected home expenses. Unfortunately when owning a home there is always a possibility of something breaking or malfunctioning and the responsibility falls upon you to fix it. It’s best to be prepared with an emergency fund in place before something actually happens so that “the emergency becomes only an inconvenience” as Dave Ramsey, a financial educator, says. An emergency fund will not only give you peace of mind but also help prepare you for home ownership.

The next important step is to figure out how much house you can actually afford. Dave Ramsey suggests to have a 10% but preferably 20% down payment on a home and then to have your monthly payments be 25% or less of monthly take home pay. One thing most home buyers don’t do is get a preapproved loan. It’s essential to have a preapproved loan when house shopping in this incredibly competitive market. Having a preapproved loan simply gives you the upper hand. It assures the seller that things won’t fall through due to you not being able to get a loan. But make sure to shop around when getting a home loan. Different banks will have different fees and rates. When a bank gives you the list of fees that go with your mortgage loan you can always try to negotiate them down to a lower price for things like home appraisal. Ask your Prosper Properties real estate agent for a referral to a good lender!

After you have your emergency fund in place and a preapproved loan in hand the next thing on your list should be to research the type of house that you want. It’s not only important to know what kind of house that you want but also what amenities you want within the house and even within the neighborhood. A big mistake that prospective homebuyers make is not knowing what type of home they want to buy. Buying a home is a very expensive purchase, which makes it crucial to find a house that you love. But if you aren’t sure what you want in a home that may make you hesitant to put in an offer which gives other prospective home buyers the chance to put in their offers and that may cost you the house.

Last but definitely not least you should have a Realtor. A lot of things are done online nowadays but having your own personal Realtor can really give you the upper hand. For instance Realtors often know of houses that are going to go on the market before they even hit the market. Realtors can also give you information about fees and taxes in the area along with homeowner association fees and rules. Their job is to help you with the home buying process.

If you have everything listed above set in place than you are ready to go toe to toe with the other competitive homebuyers this spring!