A lot, if not most people unfortunately visualize the process of buying a new home to be stressful, emotionally draining, daunting, and intimidating. However, when you come at it in an organized, practical, unified, and common sense way the process can be one of the memorable and rewarding experiences of your life. We hope the following list of 10 Tips for Home Buyers, and especially 1st time homebuyers, can help lead you to make some more informed decisions and take some of the stress out of the process…
1. LET’S START BY MAKING A LIST
In order to make the right decision on your next home, you need to truly define what it is that you are looking for. Making a physical list of what your next home MUST have, would be NICE to have, and any potential DEAL BREAKERS is a very important start. When going through this important exercise try your best to stay as practical and as non-emotional as possible as you organize your wants and needs. When you start looking at homes, make sure to bring a copy of this checklist and go through it as you are looking at the home, you can additionally take photos to help review the property later on. Feel free to add, subtract, and reorganize this checklist as you go. Your list really helps to keep your search on track and helps you fall in love with the “right” home for you. You’ll feel better later having chose the blue home with the extra closet space you really needed, instead of choosing the red home… just because it was red.
2. GET PRE-APPROVED
Nothing hurts more then finding the home of your dreams, to later find out that you simply can’t qualify for it. To avoid a lot of wasted time and emotion meet with a licensed mortgage lender in your area to get pre-approved. Understand that “Pre-Approval” and “Pre-Qualification” are two different things. Pre-Approval is based upon a thorough review of your credit and income and carries the most weight when it comes time to actually make a formal offer on a property. Pre-Qualification is based only upon the general information you provide, and doesn’t typically involve a verification of income or full credit examination.
3. RESEARCH AND ASK ABOUT GRANTS AND/OR SPECIAL FINANCING PROGRAMS
In the last paragraph we recommended to meet with a licensed mortgage lender “IN YOUR AREA” and one of the main reasons for this is that many of the “Grant” programs and “Special Financing” programs are area specific and the lenders themselves are trained locally on what is available in your market. Using an online or out-of-state lender may seem like a good option, until you realize, sometimes when it’s too late, that very few know how home purchases work in your state. Refinancing your existing mortgage out-of-state or online may work out fine, but expect issues on an actual purchase especially if you are working with someone you can never see face to face. ExecuHome Realty has a few specialized grant programs that we use… **Click Here For More Information**
4. HIRE A LICENSED REAL ESTATE PROFESSIONAL
Let’s be honest, you’ve never done this before, and because you’ve never done this before you need help, guidance, and someone to truly watch out for your interests. An experienced Real Estate Professional has, throughout their career, typically been involved in at least a few transactions where things didn’t always go as planned and because of that they know what to do if something goes “out-of-whack” in your transaction. In a real estate transaction, countless things can go wrong, having someone on your side who has “been there before” is crucial. Besides, as the buyer, in most states the seller automatically pays your agent. (ExecuHome Realty Would Love The Opportunity To Be Your Real Estate Professional)
5. UNDERBUY, NEVER OVERBUY (AKA DON’T BECOME HOUSE-POOR)
Many homeowners pick their homes based mostly on emotion and sometimes don’t put enough thought into the financial side of the process, they think that just because the bank says they can afford it and is willing to give them the money, then it should be “OK”. Always make your own budget when deciding on how much you are going to spend. Your mortgage company will never take into account how much you may like to travel, that you are planning on having children, or other goals you may have in life that you will have a harder time accomplishing with too high of a house payment.
6. LOOK AT ALL OF THE EXPENSES
Homes bring expenses that go well beyond the house payment itself. The principal, interest, taxes, and insurance should NEVER be the only things you look at as far as home expenses go. Make sure you consider potential home association dues, condo fees, increase in utilities, parking, increase in gas and tolls depending on job location, lawn/landscaping, etc. Remember the house is yours, and any repairs and maintenance required is now your responsibility, so plan ahead.
7. BUYING IN A GOOD SCHOOL DISTRICT IS A BIG PLUS
Even if you do not have any children or plan on having any, buying in a good school district is still very important. When you eventually plan on reselling your home, understand that many purchasers buy based on school availability. The areas with better schools usually hold and carry better value, and at the very least make your property more desirable to more home purchasers.
8. STALK OUT YOUR POTENTIAL NEIGHBORHOOD
Many unhappy homeowners around the country could have avoided their displeasure by simply following this one slice of advice. Visit your potential neighborhood at ALL hours… morning, noon, and night. Just because your new neighborhood was quiet and had plenty of parking at one time doesn’t mean that doesn’t change at other times. Research where the closest gas stations, grocery stores, post offices, etc. are in proximity to your new home. Also make sure to drive your “normal” work route to and from the new home to see if that is something you’ll be happy with on a daily basis in the future.
9. LOOK BEYOND THE HOME’S STAGING
Anyone looking to sell their home can temporarily install some nice furniture, color coordinate some fabrics, paint a wall or two, and hang some artwork. Always, try your best to look past the things that you AREN’T buying. Focus more on the layout of the home, the true size of the rooms, even where and how many electrical outlets there are. Basically focus on how functional the home will be for how you’ll use it. Don’t fall for the trap of getting attached to a home because it had the lovely, color coordinated furnishings, instead get attached to ONLY the house itself.
10. HIRE A HOME INSPECTOR
Most likely you are not a home improvement specialist, well, neither is your Real Estate Agent, your Mortgage Professional, or the Appraiser assigned to look at and value your new home. Hiring a licensed Home Inspector to thoroughly inspect the property is one of the most important things you can do as a home purchaser. Most inspections take between 1-3 hours depending on the size of the home and will include a full report outlining all areas of the home, and separately any aspects of the home that need repair and/or further investigation by more specific experts. For instance, your home inspector may find what appears to be mold, and might recommend that you have it further checked out and certified by a licensed mold specialist. Always find your own home inspector, do not just call the one person your agent and/or lender may recommend. Also, always be present for the actual inspection, as well as your Real Estate Agent as they will need to know exactly what the issues are if you decide to ask the seller to make any repairs.
Thanks for visiting ExecuHome Realty, we’ve been helping home buyers and sellers throughout the Mid-Atlantic Region since 2005 and we can’t wait to help you purchase your next home. We are home to over 400 of the region’s finest Realtors.
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