If you are beginning to hunt for the perfect home, you are probably unaware that there are big mistakes that can cost you big money and lots of hassles! Not to worry, we have mapped out 6 tips below to help better prepare you in your search!
A Pre-Approval is So Important
Too often people wait until they find their perfect home before going to a broker for a pre-approval. More than likely this will result in you losing the house to a more prepared buyer. Think about it, a lot of homes have open houses on the weekends so it is very likely that offers will be received on that Sunday and if you have to wait until Monday to get a pre-approval, you are lowering your chances of getting your perfect home.
Another great reason to get the pre-approval in advance is to find out what you can afford. You want to make sure you aren’t hunting for a home that is within the amount that a broker would be willing to give you. The opposite can happen as well, you think to yourself, “I can’t afford anything over $350,000” but in reality you have a little more flexibility.
One of the most important aspects of a home is the neighborhood. If you are going once or twice and doing a visual check that may not be sufficient. Here are our suggested checklist items to be sure you are vetting the neighborhood thoroughly.
Checkout the homes nearby. Is there trash left on lawns, broken down cars left in the street, and are the homes well maintained?
Try the commute out once or twice, a lot of GPS apps allow you to do this virtually now which would save some time.
Where are the schools, grocery stores, churches, etc. located? Are they close enough to the home?
Check with the zoning laws, hopefully you will find out that there are no commercial properties being built too close to the property.
Talk to neighbors, if you see someone out and about, stop over to say hi and ask questions about the neighborhood.
Be sure to bring your checklist and concerns with you when you visit the property that way you will be sure that all your concerns are covered.
Updating a Home is Harder than it Looks
Avid viewers of HGTV’s home improvement shows may think that a fixer upper is an easy project to tackle. That is not usually true. Sure if you are in the construction industry by trade than you may not mind taking on some major renovations but the average home buyer should be cautious of upgrades and improvements. You would hate to buy a home with the hope to fix it up and be stuck because of time and money constraints. There will always be small fixes here and there to the home but trying to find a more move in ready property may benefit you in the long run.
Factor in All Associated Costs
What you are currently paying in rent does not exactly equate to what you can afford when buying a home. There are additional costs associated with homeownership that must be considered. Will you have money for inevitable repairs? Are you able to cover the taxes in that town? How much insurance coverage will be necessary for the property? Hopefully this won’t happen but what if you or your spouse loses your job, will the payments become unmanageable?
Be prepared to go through all these questions and more. To help we made a tool called the Home Buyers Budget Worksheet. Fill it in and get an idea of what your budget is for a home. This is not meant to replace an actual lender pre-approval so talk with an expert once you are closer to the buying process.
Don’t Wait Act Now
The right home will eventually come along and when it does don’t dilly dally on making an offer. The sooner you make an offer the better your chances to get the property. Especially in the early spring we tend to see bidding wars on properties. You can avoid this by putting your offer in first and moving quickly towards closing the deal. If you wait too long you could end up paying more than you want or worse, you could lose out on the home of your dreams. Click here to learn the ways you can win a bidding war if you do find yourself in that situation.
Buyer’s Agents are Necessary
Listing agents are working for the seller, they have to…they signed a contract with them to do so. If you work with the listing agent directly, who is looking out for your best interests? If you have a buyer’s agent they should do just that! But heed our warning, not all buyer’s agents are considered equal. If you go for the nicest agent they may not be the tough type you need at the time of the negotiation. If you choose an agent that is only trying to please you, they may not be honest in pointing out things that could potentially be a big problem once you have purchased the home. Watch this video to learn more about why you should hire a buyer’s agent!
So now you know what you need to think about prior to buying that dream home! If you need any help at all please reach out to us and we would be happy to assist you further.