Real estate is red hot right now, with more millennials and gen-Xers entering the market. First-time homebuyers want to capitalize on near-record low interest rates, and many are saving enough throughout the pandemic to justify buying in the near future.

In all the excitement, however, you need to make sure that you’re informed. Whether your entrance into the real estate market is imminent or distant, there are informational resources you can access that help you save, plan, research and prepare for homebuying.

From budgeting apps to online real estate legal services, here are the top four resources available in your homebuying journey.

An Affordability Calculator

Most major banks offer what’s called an “affordability calculator” on their website. Alternatively, you can access a calculator through the government’s Mortgage and Housing Corporation website or a private site.

Essentially, an affordability calculator collates your financial and situational information – your down payment amount, annual income, monthly expenses, location, and the type of home you want to purchase. Then, with a bit of fancy math, it lets you know what price range you can afford. It’s a helpful first step that aids in your search and saves you from over-extending.

A Budgeting App

If you’re just at the start of your homebuying journey, working to save enough for a down payment, you may get a lot of value out of a budgeting app.

There are several apps out there, and they all do more or less the same thing. They let you track your spending, see your upcoming financial obligations and, crucially, create savings goals. Say, for instance, you want to save 20,000 dollars by May 2022, and you already have 9,000. The app will tell you how much you need to save monthly to meet your goal. Here’s Nerdwallet’s round-up of the best budgeting apps to get you started.

A Great Real Estate Lawyer

One of the important resources that are a must when buying a home is real estate legal services. As we all know, lawyers have different areas of expertise. For instance, attorneys at Cohn Legal focuses on Intellectual Property cases, and if you want a lawyer whose focus is on real estate, then make sure to look for experienced lawyers who specialize in this field.  A great real estate lawyer helps make sense of complicated legal agreements, keeps you on schedule to sign necessary paperwork, oversees communication among the different parties and generally acts as a knowledgeable guide.

They also work on your behalf in the event of complications. Having scrimped and saved, you want to protect your biggest investment from potential mishaps – and a great real estate lawyer is your first line of defence. Luckily, they can also be affordable; just look for an online real estate lawyer in your area with good Google reviews.

A Listings Website

Lastly, you want to be able to do your own research, to get a bird’s eye view of availability and average pricing. This is where a real estate listings website comes in handy. The most popular listings websites right now are Zillow, ZeroDown, and Realtor, though just about every realtor company has their own search function. Don’t rely on your realtor to come to you with the best homes. Do some independent research to get a better sense of what’s out there.

Between the four resources above, you should be in good hands. A budgeting app will help you save, an affordability calculator will start you planning right, a listing website will have you researching smartly, and a real estate lawyer will keep you prepared.

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