Mortgage lending giant FreddieMac predicted a rise of average rent by as much as 1.8% for Broward, Miami-Dade and West Palm Counties in November of last year.

While that hasn’t borne out to be completely true yet (ApartmentList showed that the increase in rent prices on average has been about 1.6%, at the most, over the past year, a fairly modest increase, and the trend has been closer to 1.3-1.4% nationally for the past year), it is a great impetus for considering the purchase of your own home. Mortgage rates for first-time homeowners is at a near-historic low of 3.8 – 4%. Refinancing activity is also surging, creating a refi-rich market for homeowners looking to leverage their mortgage to do more with their equity.

What this all means is that it’s an excellent time to evaluate whether you’re a good candidate for home ownership. Doing so means that you have to have an understanding of the type of person lenders are looking to loan money to. Here are the qualities a lender looks for:

  • Flexibility
    The ability to stick to your guns is an important asset in mortgage negotiations, but so is the ability to compromise. Know when to hold ‘em and when to fold ‘em, so to speak…or at least when to start having a nice reasonable discussion with the dealer. You’ll win big points here by remaining fairly firm but being clear about having an open mind. Maybe it’s more like you can’t always get what you want, but if you try sometimes, you get what you need.
  • Attention to detail
    Getting to the closing table means having a knack for organization. Poorly organized people or sloppy people are not going to end up there. There are numerous factors to consider when you’re buying a home, and those who are most successful in doing so have the capacity to be very methodical during this process. 
  • Excellent writing skills
    We know, you’re closing on a house, not trying to be the next J.K. Rowling. Fortunately you don’t need to be that creative or inventive a writer; you do, however, have to be a persuasive one. You’re going to have to write an offer letter selling your plans for the house and how you’re going to pay for it and why you’re the best person to sell it to. Being an effective and persuasive writer is important to help you set yourself — and your offer — apart from the other buyers. 
  • White-hot negotiation skills
    We doubt we have to tell you that you need to be an effective negotiator, but…you have to be a really effective negotiator. This is so that you don’t end up getting talked into a bad deal, since you’re probably going to be stuck with this decision for awhile. As ever, if you need help here, find some help. Especially if you feel nervous or uncomfortable about having such conversations. There is never any shame in asking for help.
  • Creditworthiness
    If you don’t have great credit, it can be a serious block in your path to homeownership. You might be able to apply for an unconventional mortgage like an FHA loan, but with bad credit your rates are going to be higher and you’ll be paying more over time. Before you get locked into a mortgage it’s a good idea to home in Florida with palm trees on open waterdo everything that you can to get your credit score as high as you’re able to get it.
  • Good Money Management Skills
    To a lender, strong candidates for good mortgage rates are able to manage their money and their debt well. You’ll also need access to lots of cash: for your down payment, your closing costs, insurance, taxes and fees. If you don’t have much in savings, your application may be rejected.
  • Discretion
    You need to know what you can afford and what you can’t. It can be tempting to go for something that is a little bit out of your range and say that you’ll use it as a catalyst to work more or harder or get that next promotion, but it’s a lot better to hang your future on something solid that you know you can afford. You can always work your way up.

Are you thinking of buying a home? This is the time to do it! Getting in touch with a knowledgeable, resourceful realtor is a great place to start.

Joanna Goriss

Joanna Goriss isn’t just a realtor in South Florida: she is a long-time resident. She can assist you in making one of the most important decisions of your life, show you houses you didn’t even know existed on the market, and her dedication to her clients and thoroughness in her pursuits is legendary. Her expertise in one of the hottest real estate markets in the country sets her apart from other realtors in the area. Contact her today!