You’ve all heard it before, buying a home is one of the biggest investments you’ll ever make. Below you’ll find some home buying tips so you’ll better understand your options.
Get Pre-Approved ASAP
I know…BORING! However, here’s the deal, before you even start looking you should have a lender run your credit score and get an approval. Let’s say you go out an look at homes without being approved, how do you know you’re looking in the right price range? Let’s say you go look, find a house you want and decide to write an offer, you can’t. Offers must be accompanied by an approval letter so now you’re stuck and need to go get approved. Best to be prepared so get approved prior to looking at homes.
Plan Your Budget
We have determined meeting with a lender and getting approved is first, however, it’s not the end of the financial portion. Plan your budget, your lender and agent can help with this. The mortgage payment in not the only thing to consider. Other expenses include taxes, insurance and utilities. Once you find a home you can ask the sellers to provide the past 3 to 6 months worth of utility bills. This will allow you to go in a with a full understanding of the costs involved.
Research The Neighborhoods
Homes do not stand alone. They are part of a neighborhood, and the health of that neighborhood is an important part of the home’s value. What kinds of schools are in the area? Regardless of if you plan on using them, homes in popular school districts typically have better resale value.
Investigate the values of nearby houses. If they are lower, your seller might be overcharging, and if local prices are higher, you may want to tactfully inquire why you’re getting such a seemingly good deal.
And then there’s everything else: parks, grocery stores, restaurants, theaters, whatever else you’d like to have within a short drive or walk. The best home gives you the amount of access or privacy you desire.
Pick The Right Agent
No matter what you may hear, not all agents are alike. Lenders neither as far as that goes. Many agents have massive marketing expense accounts and seem to be everywhere. In reality this doesn’t automatically equate to the best agent, or the busiest.
Average agents open doors, smile, and set up showings for you. Good agents do all that plus help set you up with a lender and provide detailed information about the homes you’re looking at. Great agents do all that plus they also:
- Have a ton of experience
- Provide a list of vendors that can help you with mortgage, moving, home repairs, credit help, inspectors and much more
- Can handle about any situation that comes up because of their experience
- Provide comparable homes sales so you know how best to position your offer
- Are full time – it’s sad how many agents are not even full time. Buying a home should not be something handled by someone who does it on the side
Get A Home Inspection
Not only is an inspection important but its important to find the right inspector. Home inspectors have little to zero regulations and sadly it shows with many of them looking for supplemental income. DMG suggests you work with an inspector who has some building and remodeling background. Hands on experience trumps book smarts all day long in most cases. Inspections can reveal some very costly issues so not a step we would recommend you skip.
Don’t let home buying overwhelm you. Do your research and keep control of the process. Gather as much information as you can, and work with people who are most willing to work with you. It may take more work at the beginning, but, in the end, it will save you money and aggravation.
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