If you’re thinking about buying a house in Mississippi, then you should know that the process can be somewhat cumbersome. Not only do you need to find the perfect home within your budget, but you’ll also need to start thinking about financing.
On top of this, you will also need to make considerations regarding timing, appraisals, negotiations, closing costs, real estate taxes, and more.
The process of buying a house can be eased when using an experienced real estate agent that knows the Mississippi housing market well. However, to help you along the way, we’ve listed eight of the most important steps to consider when buying a house in Mississippi.
Step 1: Evaluate Your Current Financial Situation
Spending some time assessing your personal financial situation should be your first step. While evaluating what’s in your budget is important, you need to consider a range of other factors too.
For example, if you are planning to obtain financing, then you’ll need to start this process at the earliest possible opportunity. Don’t forget, it takes an average of 30 days for a listed home to close (from the time an offer is accepted by the seller), so you don’t want to run into any financial hiccups along the way.
Before you make an appointment with your chosen lender, you should spend some time assessing your current FICO score. You should also consider how much you will be able to save to help cover upfront costs like down payments, appraisals, home inspections, and other closing costs.
Be aware of any potential home buyer programs that can assist with your property purchase. There is a range of low-income and first-time home buyer programs available at both a state and federal level. These programs can assist with additional costs such as down payments and closing costs.
Finally, you should also assess how your day-to-day living costs are likely to be affected by your home purchase. Consider how your monthly mortgage payments differ from what you currently pay.
Step 2: Find a Great Mississippi Real Estate Agent
To ease the complicated process of buying a home in Mississippi, it is crucial to find a great real estate agent. By using an agent that has extensive knowledge of the local housing market, you stand the best chance of minimizing the amount you pay for your property.
Your agent will be able to evaluate the current state of the area you want to live in and negotiate with the seller accordingly. When it comes to the financial side of buying a house, an experienced agent will also be able to advise whether or not you qualify for any notable home buyer programs.
Clever can connect you with a reputable agent that has long-standing knowledge of the Mississippi real estate market. By using a Clever Partner Agent you will also have the opportunity to get on-demand viewings. If you’re buying during the busy peak season, this will allow you to get priority over other buyers.
Learn More: What Does a Real Estate Agent Do for a Buyer?
Step 3: Read Up on Local Real Estate Market Trends
Each housing market in the U.S. goes through seasonal trends. These trends not only occur at a state level but regional too. As such, timing the market well can make all the difference when it comes to negotiating a better price on your chosen property.
In the state of the Mississippi, median house prices are considerably lower in comparison to the U.S. average. According to Zillow data, the national home value average is $226,700, but properties in Mississippi average just $128,400. This makes the Magnolia State one of the most affordable housing markets to buy a property. This makes it perfect for those buying a house for the first time, or for those on a low-income.
In terms of growth, properties in Mississippi grew by 7.8% over the last year. With U.S. house prices growing by 6.1% during the same period, property values in Mississippi outgrew the national average. However, growth is expected to slow down next year, with Mississippi property values forecasted to grow by just 3.3%.
Although the above housing market trends make Mississippi an attractive investment, you should still assess whether you can time the market to perfection. Historical trends indicate that March to April are good months to start the home buying process in Mississippi. After the busy summer months are out the way, is also a good time to buy.
There are typically fewer buyers active in the Mississippi real estate arena in the winter, meaning that you'll have a good chance of negotiating a lower price. Market timing is something that a Mississippi-based real estate agent will be able to assist with, as they will have hands-on knowledge of historical market trends.
Learn More: Will it Be a Buyer’s or Seller’s Market in 2019?
Step 4: Get Pre-Approved for a Mortgage
Once you get to the stage of arranging financing, it is important that you understand the difference between “pre-qualifying” and a “pre-approval.”
In a nutshell, when you first apply for a mortgage and the lender pre-approves you, this is based on the information that you provided in your application. This will consist of your stated assets, income, and current debt obligations. The key point is that at this stage of the application, the lender will not perform through validation checks on the information you provided.
Once you do progress to the next stage, the lender will then actively validate your financial circumstances. Once this is achieved, your application will move to “pre-approved”.
As we mentioned earlier, it usually takes around a month to close a property in Mississippi (from the time an offer is accepted), so you don’t want financing complications to jeopardize the deal.
Step 5: Start House Hunting
Before you start viewing properties, you need to consider what your budget can cover. Think about the specific Mississippi neighborhood that you want to live in. You’ll need to assess whether you want to be situated close to cities and their amenities and whether the neighborhood is showing signs of growth potential.
Ultimately, your best bet is to sit down with an experienced real estate agent that knows the Mississippi housing market well. They’ll be able to assess your budget, financing options, and individual needs. They can then provide you with a range of housing options that meets your personal circumstances.
Learn More: Free House Hunting Checklist
Step 6: Make an Offer
Once you’ve found your dream home, you’ll need to make an offer. In an ideal world, the seller will accept the offer you make. However, if they counter your offer with a higher amount, you’ll need to be prepared to negotiate further.
A reputable Mississippi agent will be able to assess what price the seller will accept, based on the current state of the local housing market. They’ll also be able to use their extensive skills to negotiate on your behalf.
In terms of the offer process, your agent will submit this in writing. You’ll likely need to write a check (earnest money) for 1-3% of the offer amount to illustrate that the offer has been made in good faith.
Learn More: How to Make an Offer on a House
Step 7: Inspections and Negotiations
If the offer on your chosen property is accepted, then it is wise to arrange a home inspection. Although this will cost around $200-$400, the home inspection process is crucial when assessing the true condition of the property.
The inspection might identify potential issues that were not highlighted by the seller. If this is the case, and you still want to proceed, then your agent might be able to negotiate a better price.
Step 8: It’s Closing Time!
The final stage of the Mississippi home buying process is closing. You’ll need to consider what costs you are likely to pay during the closing process. According to a recent study by Bankrate, buyer’s in Mississippi pay an average closing cost of $2,051. Of this amount, you will pay an average origination fee of $916.
This is the fee that you need to pay to your lender for arranging the loan. The balance is made up of third-party fees. This can include escrow fees, real estate taxes, and appraisal fees. When you initially sit down with your real estate agent, they’ll be able to provide you with a full breakdown of the costs you’re likely to encounter.
Allowing an Experienced Buyer’s Agent To Ease The Process
You’re probably starting to see how complex the home buying process can be. This is why it’s crucial to use the services of an experienced buyer’s agent.
Clever can connect you with a top-notch agent that can guide you through the entire buying process. Whether it's financing, making an offer, negotiating, or closing, a reputable real estate agent based in Mississippi will be able to make the buying process a seamless one.
A Clever Partner Agent can also arrange on-demand viewings, which could be of great value during the busy buying season.
To find out more about how Clever can assist with the home buying process, simply fill in our online form.