In today’s real estate world more and more homebuyers are being informed and educating themselves on the process, the transaction and the details. This is great and it helps buyers understand and feel more comfortable with their purchase. Before looking and buying a home there are some things that you should do so that you are prepared, well-informed and assured you are ready to buy. Here are 10 things all potential homeowners should do before buying a house.
#1. Know your own finances.
Before applying for a home loan, looking at homes or touring open houses, understand your credit history, score and your own finances. You certainly don’t want to be surprised when a lender discovers that you have a low credit score and that loan you took out 10 years ago never got paid off. Make sure there are no surprises and if you find any errors on your credit history correct them or write a letter of explanation before applying for a home loan.
#2. Shop for the right lender.
There are lots of lenders out there and you should be shopping them just as much is you would shop for a house. The rates, points, fees and costs can all vary from lender to lender so let them know your shopping them so that you get the best deal.
#3. Understand homebuying expenses.
There are a lot of zero down home loans or low-cost home loans out there making it fairly easy for first-time homebuyers to purchase a property however, there are expenses that you need to know about such as out-of-pocket earnest money costs, appraisal fees and home inspection costs. It’s important to have several thousand dollars for these items but talk to your lender and your real estate agent about how much exactly you’ll need in order to buy a house.
#4. Get your own buyers agent.
Find a buyers agent that has this profession as a full-time business. It’s fairly easy to get your real estate license so many people real estate and have a full-time day job however, they may not understand the changes, rules and regulations of purchasing property so it’s best to go with an experienced and seasoned real estate agent so you have someone on your side throughout the process.
#5. Don’t max out your budget.
Just because you can’t afford a $500,000 house, doesn’t necessarily mean you need to max out that budget. Looking for a home around $450,000 will give you a little bit of breathing room and allow you to save money for those home repairs that will now need to deal with in the future.
#6. Don’t let your emotions rule you.
I’ve dealt with many people that fall in love with the house and want it at all costs even though after the home inspection the property is in dire need of repairs and could even be hazardous. Try not to let your emotions get the better of you and try not to completely fall in love with the house until you know it’s going to be yours.
#7. Ask about the homeowners association.
HOA, or homeowners associations are very common in the bay area and Tri-Valley area so you want to double check on how much you’ll be paying monthly for the homeowners association. Single-family homes, residential neighborhoods and condo associations can all have an HOA, so make sure you agree with it before signing on the dotted line.
#8. Consider plans for the future.
For first-time homebuyers it can be difficult to think long-term but the home you by now probably will not be your only home. Consider resale value, location, school districts, and what it would take to sell the property in the future if need be.
#9. Try to look past cosmetics.
Some of the best homes with the greatest deals out there may have peeling, outdated wallpaper, older appliances and wood paneling. But, you can get a great deal and if you look past the cosmetics and see the house for what it really is, you may be getting a diamond in the rough.
#10. Don’t sabotage your finances.
Once you’ve applied for a home loan do not make any large purchases or take out another loan. This can greatly affect your interest rate and even your ability to get the loan at all. Consider putting all of your finances on hold and freeze them until the transaction is complete.
For more information or to get started on any of these steps contact my office today.
More: Ask a Realtor® – What comes with the house?