Buying a home, especially your first home, can be intimidating. Where to buy, when to by, and most importantly how to buy are daunting factors. Take your time, talk with your realtor, and read over our Must-Know Secrets to help you begin the process.
Must-Know Secret #1: Timing Isn’t Necessarily Everything
Obsessing over the housing market and housing values will drive you crazy. Any attempt to understand or predict the housing market is like trying to accurately predict the stock market- easier said than done. Don’t put unnecessary pressure on yourself to get it ‘just right’. Real estate has a cycle just like the economy. If it goes down, it will go back up again.
Must-Know Secret #2: Getting Pre-Approved Not Just Pre-Qualified
Some may get excited over being pre-qualified for a mortgage. Well it’s not really as great as you think; anyone can be pre-qualified. What you need to do is get pre-approved. This means a lender has looked at all of your financial information and they’ve let you know exactly how much you can afford and how much they are willing to dish out. We suggest you get pre-approved so you have a baseline when you being your search. You will know what your max budget is and you will be able to discover hidden fees such as processing fees or points.
Must-Know Secret #3: Watch Your Credit
It’s not a wise move to make a large purchase or investment three to six months before you plan to buy a home. Always stay on the safe side and don’t take any risky chances with your credit profile. To get approved for a home, mortgage lenders need to see you’re reliable. If you are opening a new credit card, gain some new debts, or make risky investments, it might be difficult for you to get the loan you need.
Must-Know Secret #4: Good Things Come in Small Packages
There really is something to buying the worst house on the block and fixing it up. If you purchase the largest house on your street you are going to limit your audience when it comes to resale. You may like massive houses, but the majority of home buyers aren’t interested in small palaces. It’s a great investment idea to buy a smaller house on the block and fix it up the way you’d want it. Your home will only go up in value.
Must-Know Secret #5: Beware of Your Emotions
It is important to love the home you purchase, and some do ‘fall in love’ right away. Others need to fix it up and turn their home into their little oasis. Beware of making a poor financial decision based on emotions you may feel about a certain house. This is one of the largest financial investments you’ll make so be sure to stay calm and be wise.
Must-Know Secret #6: Get to Know the House Before You Purchase
Much like marriage, you want to take your time to get to know the other person (or house) before you make a huge decision. Get to know the neighborhood. Visit it often; and visit it at different times of the day. What is it like at night? Are there children playing outside after school? How is the commute to work from this home? Find out how close the nearest grocery store and hospital are. Investigate the school district, this can affect the home’s value.
Must-Know Secret #7: Calculate All Expenses
The difference between renting and home ownership is what we call sleeper costs. When calculating what you can afford don’t only think about mortgage payments. You’ll have taxes, utilities, home owner association (HOA) fees, and repairs. Make sure you add all sleeper costs into your budget so you can know what you can actually afford.
Must-Know Secret #8: Hiring a Good Home Inspector
Hiring a home inspector is essential. While you may not want to pay upfront for the fee, it could save you thousands of dollars down the road. You may think you know what to look for when viewing a home, but these people have a trained eye and can be critical for your home buying success. Their only responsibility is to provide you with facts so you can make the decision if you’d like to move forward or not. They aren’t biased like your mother-in-law might be. A bonus to using an inspector is if they find issues with the home, those issues could be a potential bargaining tool to lower the costs.