At Finely Crafted Realty, we have your back. We are way more concerned for your well being than we are with our paycheck. Trust us. Here are some tried and true tips to help get your feet wet with the home buying process.
Unless you have a big wad of cash lying around… one of your first steps in buying your home will be to get pre-approved. Meet with a mortgage broker and find out how much home you can afford. Sellers will be much more receptive to potential buyers who that are pre-approved, AND you will avoid being disappointed by looking at homes that are out of your price range. Remember, you don’t have to spend everything you qualify for. You want to be comfortable with you total monthly payments associated with home ownership.
It’s good to have a clear idea of what you’re looking for in a home, but it’s also important to distinguish between your wants & needs. You may need a certain minimum square footage or number of bedrooms to accommodate your family. You may want an in-ground pool or hardwood floors throughout. Realistically for first time buyers, you probably will not get everything on your wish list, but keeping a list of wants & needs will help keep you on track for what you’re looking for.
I can’t stress this one enough! Hire a good buyer’s agent. It won’t cost you a penny and it will save you tons of time and stress. A good buyer’s agent can show you any home on the market, and assist you with the entire transaction from your initial home search all the way to closing. When chosen wisely, your buyer’s agent will completely streamline the process. They will schedule showings for you, assist with contract paperwork, negotiate on your behalf, make sure you adhere to important deadlines, hook you up with other quality professionals like home inspectors & lenders, and coordinate essentially just get you to closing. Make it simple on yourself & just give us a call
While viewing potential houses, your agent should provide you with a detailed feature sheet for each home. In addition, take your own notes as you go, writing down pros & cons at each home. Hint: your agent should help point out pros and cons. If your agent never points out any cons, run away. Don’t be afraid to take pictures or videos of features that stand out at each property. You would be amazed at how things tend to run together after a long day of multiple showings.
Don’t read too much into cosmetic stuff like decor or paint colors in potential homes. These are usually easy, more inexpensive fixes you can make when you move in. Do pay close attention to factors such as layout, room size & functionality. Remember, anything that strikes you as odd will likely strike potential buyers down the road as odd. Always consider resale factors.
Instead of thinking with your heart when you find a home, think with your head. Does this home really meet your needs? There are lots of houses on the market, so don’t make a hasty decision that you may regret later. Be sure to consider all factors involved, including upcoming costs. Look at the age and condition of big ticket items such as windows, roof, HVAC, etc. Sure that 100 year old house may be gorgeous & full of character, but are you really prepared for the financial and time commitment for maintenance needed? Think about it, and think about it hard.
This phrase is constantly used in the real estate world for a reason. It matters! Take an in depth look at the location of any potential home you consider. Is the home in a nice area? Good school systems? Close to the interstate? Try to look at it in the eyes of a potential home buyer in the future as well, because one day you will be looking to re-sell.
Buying a house means signing a lot of paperwork throughout the transaction. Don’t just blindly sign documents. Make sure you know what you’re signing and don’t be afraid to ask questions. Your agent can walk you though the sales contract, ensuring you have a clear understanding during negotiations and throughout the transaction as a whole. Your closing attorney can answer any legal questions.
This heading should really probably read ‘Don’t Cheap Out!’ A few extra dollars well spent during your due diligence period can and will save you BIG expenses in the long run. Don’t cheap out on important services like your home, termite and septic inspections. Use qualified professionals in each field, not just the cheapest guy you can find. Do your research!
While you have a home under contract and are awaiting final approval of your mortgage, don’t make any changes to your finances. Don’t quit your job or switch jobs. (Duh, right?) Don’t buy a car, or even a bunch of furniture on credit. Don’t make big cash deposits into your account. All of these things could potentially mess up the deal. This may seem like common sense, but I can’t stress it enough.
You will want to conduct a final walk through within 24 hours before closing on a property. During this time you can ensure that the home is in proper condition. Make sure all items that were to remain (like appliances, etc.) are still in place, and double check that all necessary repairs have been completed. Even if you have receipts showing that repairs were done, double check them. I’ve had my share of final walk throughs where we discover repairs were not done correctly, or even done at all. It’s in your best interest to double check.