There are some good things to do before buying a home, even if you think you are “just contemplating buying.” Especially in a market as tight as the one we are in today, you want to be ready when you find your dream home or you realize you’re ready to make an offer. Here are some home buying secrets to keep in mind. But don’t go it alone.
1. Don’t go it alone. You’ll want a good team on your side when you make a purchase as big as this. Work with a mortgage loan officer and real estate agent to make sure you’re educated along the way. You want to make decisions thoughtfully and efficiently every step of the way.
2. Keep your money where it is. Don’t make any big purchases or move your money within three to six months of buying your home. This means, even if you’re just thinking about buying, leave your money in the bank. It’s easy to get a good loan and have the necessary paper trail if you don’t make any big financial moves.
3. Get pre-approved. This means a lender has looked at your financial information and has let you know how much you can afford and how much they will lend you. Now is the time to really sit down and go over all fees, interest rates, types of loans, etc. Do this before you start shopping for a home. Make sure you are pre-approved. It is different than pre-qualified.
4. Don’t try to time the market. You’ll never be able to figure out the perfect time to buy a home if you’re trying to time the housing market. The best time to buy is when you find the right home and you can afford it. Like all investment markets, real estate is cyclical.
5. Don’t buy the biggest house. Buy the best! You want a home that is appealing to you and to others when you go to re-sell. Your home only goes up in value as much as the homes around you. You don’t necessarily want to have the most expensive house on the block.
6. Factor in all costs. Don’t forget to include your utilities, taxes, maintenance, homeowners association fees, insurance and all other costs that go into homeownership when you are budgeting for your house. It’s important to be able to pay for all costs, not only the mortgage.
7. Get a home inspection done. OF COURSE, you’ll want to have an unbiased home inspector check out your home. An inspection can save you thousands of dollars, provide you with negotiation options and even help you decide a particular house is not for you. Click here to read more about hiring a home inspector.
8. Bid right. You should base your opening bid on a couple of factors – what you can afford and what the property is worth. Be fair and reasonable. Check to see what other homes in the area are going for, what the square footage is worth, and what could add to the value of the home or take away from the value of a home. Be specific about your number so the seller takes your seriously.
For most people a home is the biggest purchase they will ever make. Make sure you make the right move by being ready when the time is right. If you have questions one of our loan officers would be happy to discuss your questions, concerns and options.