Located in St. Louis County, Missouri, Chesterfield is a thriving suburban community with a population of about 50,000 people (as of the 2020 census). Aside from its charm, there are many reasons why Chesterfield is one of the most desirable places to live in the state. From rolling hills to restaurants and parks to the longest outdoor strip mall in America, Chesterfield has something for everyone.
Buying a new home is a far from simple process, but the Dillon Gray LeFan Team at Compass Realty Group is here to help with expert advice you can count on. Below is a complete guide to looking for Chesterfield properties.
If you’re a first-time buyer, purchasing a home can seem particularly intimidating, but don’t let that deter you. Here are the most important things to consider.
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Pre-approval is the most important first step to take before moving forward in the buying process. Pre-approval is having a mortgage lender examine your credit history, financial assets, and income to determine how much of a loan you’re eligible for. It also demonstrates to the property seller that you’re serious about your offer and have the financials to back it. A pre-approval is necessary because without one, most sellers will not accept your offer.
We have a list of thoroughly vetted and trusted lenders who can guide you through this process.
Take a look at your credit score. A good credit score increases your chances of being approved for a mortgage because it shows that you’re highly likely to make all necessary payments on time. The higher the credit score, the more trustworthy you will appear to lenders which makes getting approved much easier.
A down payment is the money you must pay upfront when purchasing a home. It’s normally a specific percentage of the house’s purchase price, with a 20% down payment being the historical norm. However, down payment requirements vary wildly by loan type and buyer preference, so work with your lender and agent to determine a strategy that works well for you.
Closing costs are the additional fees you must pay when you finalize and close a loan, ranging from about 3-5% of the house’s total purchase price. These fees are also out of pocket, so make sure you have the money on top of the down payment.
Buying a home is a costly process. It’s crucial that you have the money you need upfront, as well as additional savings, so you aren’t left in a difficult financial situation. Fortunately, your Chesterfield real estate agents at the Dillon Gray LeFan team are experts in this process and can provide further counsel and guidance for first-time buyers or even experienced buyers who want to ensure they receive the best deal possible.
Average home prices
Chesterfield real estate has a variety of home styles and types to choose from, such as prairie-style single-family homes and contemporary-style condos. That means home prices vary considerably throughout the city.
The below values are estimates taken directly from the current listings on the Compass Realty Group site but may vary with the ever-changing market.
A typical single-family home ranges from $250,000 to $800,000, depending on the size, number of rooms, and the exact location. There are also luxury options that range from a little under $1 million to over $2 million.
A condo in Chesterfield ranges from approximately $120,000 to a little over $1 million, again depending on the condo’s size, the number of rooms, and the exact location.
Qualifying for a loan
Qualifying for a mortgage loan is a process of its own. Here are the four most important qualifications you need.
Your DTI is essentially how much of your income ends up going into monthly payments toward your debt. Lenders will calculate your DTI to see if it meets their criteria, which can vary from lender to lender.
Credit History and Credit Score
As mentioned before, credit is crucial to proving that you’re capable of making payments on time. Your credit history typically determines whether or not your loan is approved and impacts determines your credit score. Your credit score often dictates the interest rate you will pay for the loan.
A score above 700 is great, but 740 or higher is generally considered the best for receiving the lowest mortgage rates. Your credit is affected by various factors, such as:
On-time payments are pretty self-explanatory and comprise 35% of your score.
Utilization is the percentage of total available credit you’re using (how much you owe) and comprises 30% of your score. The lower, the better.
History is how long you have had credit and comprises 15% of your score. The longer, the better.
Mix takes into consideration all the types of credit you have and comprises 10% of your score. The more varied, the better.
Inquiries bring your score down, unless individual inquiries state that they don’t. This factor comprises 10% of your score, so the fewer inquiries, the better.
Lenders will take a look at your income. So long as you have a high, steady income that can be verified with the appropriate forms, it shouldn’t be much of an issue. Do not, by any means, falsify your income.
You’ll need several pieces of documentation to prove your financial responsibility, including proof of both your income and financial assets. It’s advisable to have your documentation ready for pre-approval to expedite the overall process.
Making an offer
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First, you must decide how much you’re willing to offer for a property. How long has the house been on the market? How do nearby properties compare? Are repairs needed? These are important questions to consider when you’re assessing the property’s value. Sticking to your budget is essential, but it’s also crucial to be reasonable in order to successfully navigate the market you are in. Your Chesterfield real estate agent will guide you in making a competitive offer.
Contingencies are basically escape clauses. They allow buyers to end a sale while keeping their earnest money. If your contingencies aren’t met – such as a house inspection or appraisal – you can walk away. You must make sure that you’re specific and thorough in your conditions.
Earnest money is essentially a security deposit and is typically based on 1-3% of the property’s price. It is separate from your down payment and closing costs and demonstrates to the seller that you are committed to the contract. So long as you follow all the terms of the contract, this money is returned to you at closing and typically is applied to your closing costs.
Now, the negotiation begins. Either the seller will accept or reject your offer or make a counteroffer. If they accept your offer, everyone will simply sign and begin working through the promises in the contract. If the seller makes a counteroffer, be prepared to continue negotiating. Consider their points and compromise with the seller until an agreement can be made or you decide to walk away. Your agent can definitely help you with negotiations as well.
Ready to get started?
Are you ready to commit to Chesterfield real estate? Contact the Dillon Gray LeFan team for guidance every step of the way. With decades of combined experience helping buyers find gorgeous homes in the St. Louis area, Missy Dillon, Brandon Gray, and Jessica LeFan are the agents you need on your side. Get started today!
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