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10 Things I Wish We Knew About Buying A House
If you are reading this article chances are that you’re considering purchasing your first house. If you are like most first-time home buyers (Like ME), you’re probably feeling nervous maybe even a little insecure. Don’t be! Those feeling are absolutely normal (Been there. Done that). Buying your first home or any home for that matter is a ginormous deal! My husband and I had a terrible experience. For that reason I created this list of: 10 Things I Wish We Knew About Buying A House, so you and your family have a much better experience than my husband and I did.
I can not implore you enough to get pre-approved ahead of time! Many of the housing markets today are back to being dominated by the sellers. Don’t get stuck in a situation where there are multiple offers on the table, and you lose your bid because you did not get pre-approved. The houses are selling very fast again, especially ones that are undervalued or in a desirable area. When you find the home you want, there’s no time to sit around and wait on your pre-approval letter. Be proactive and get pre-approved NOW!
Shop Around For the Best Mortgage
Shopping around for the best mortgage is really the key. My husband and I were referred to this “great” mortgage person (totally terrible is really what he was). We knew our credit was decent but we were desperate to buy home. We were totally taken advantage of and scared into not looking for another mortgage. We were led to believe that no-one else would take our loan. This mortgage person had terrible customer service and people skills. We couldn’t sleep most nights because we nervous and insecure about the final outcome. We should have dropped him like a hot tamale but we were scarred…. That’s why I am here to give you this information! So you don’t have the same experience we did.
Please do not be frightened as we were. What’s the worst that can happen, they say no. At least you checked out all possible avenues.
Please do your homework by shopping around for the best terms and conditions. Check out your local banks and credit unions as they very often have personable staff, are eager to please you, as well as do business with you! Make sure you ask about the costs associated with your loan. Don’t be afraid to do comparison shopping. I will say if it doesn’t feel right to you then walk away!
Know Your Budget Before Shopping
Knowing your budget before shopping will save you time and lots of headaches! The last thing you want to do is fall in love with a home that you simply can’t afford. You might be able to rationalize with yourself and “amend” your budget to purchase that home, but the bank might not. Run your budget before shopping, then speak to a mortgage consultant. Get pre-approved so you don’t shop for a home too expensive only to be let down later. Remember you can always upgrade to a larger home later or make changes to the property if there’s a change in your financial situation . Be honest with yourself and purchase a home that you can realistically afford.
Work With a Buyers Agent
Working with a buyers agent is one of the smartest things you can do! Buyer’s agents don’t charge you anything for their assistance! Now just because you don’t pay them doesn’t mean they are working for free – No. The sellers are the ones that pay them for helping to sell their home. Buyer’s agents are Realtors. They can research the market for the area you are looking to purchase in and help you to decide what would be a good offer to put in on a home. They help negotiate and get you the best deal! Having the help of a professional in one of the single most important investments of your life is a VERY smart move!
Get The Home Professionally Inspected
Once you decide on the home, negotiate a purchase price and have your mortgage in the works- hire a professional inspector to check out your future home. They will check for damage or concerns to the home that the average person would not even think about. They can reveal problems such as rodent or pests, water damage, mold, unsettling of the foundation or other structural concerns. An inspection will help you from getting unexpected bills once you move in. It’s also a great time to re-negotiate the purchase terms if they do find things during the inspection. My inspector was extremely thorough and provide me with a great report, picture and even a CD of everything on one file.
Don’t Get Emotional
It can be very difficult to remember this while you are in the process.
Just try to remember that if for some reason things don’t work out, it’s for your own good. You may not want to hear that because it’s your dream house– don’t worry you’ll find another. You are trying to purchase your future home, don’t let emotions get in the way. If you let your emotions get in the way you might end up with a house you’ll regret buying – maybe it has mold or foundation issues and you bought the house simply becasuse it was too charming to let go…. Not good!
You Can Count on Extra Expenses
When you rent or live at home with family your expenses are pretty straight forward. When you own a home there are variables and you need to plan for them! This past summer for example my A/C simply wouldn’t turn on. After trouble shooting some basics,my husband and I determined it was time to call the repair man. Turns out that we needed $600.00 in parts and labor for some very legitimate problems. One week later the thermostat needed replacing. Those repairs hurt and came at the worst possible time for us! Some examples of extra expenses are: increased taxes, home insurance rate increase, plumbing concerns, appliances that go bad, a leaky roof…. you get the picture. This list could go on and on. Allocate some extra money into your monthly budget for these unexpected repairs so you are not totally unprepared.
Check Out The Neighborhood
WOWWWW. .. I sure wish I could take my own advice here! This a a HUGE one! You might find the most amazing home ever and become blinded to some things you might not notice right away. I suggest driving to the home and really checking out the neighborhood! Not just once, several times and pay attention to the details. By that I mean looking at the neighbors- are there kids hanging out in the street or in the yards? Are there any eye sores? Over grown yards, old cars sitting the yards, garbage piled high? Are these things you could live with? Don’t just answer yes, think about it.
My husband and I purchased a home on a dirt road. No problem. Fast forward 1 year and WE CAN’T STAND IT! One of our neighbor’s hasn’t cut his yard in the year we have owned our property! The neighbor in front of him has car parts everywhere, overgrown trees and grass – total eye sores! We can’t stand driving down our road! The sad part is that 1 year after purchasing our home, we are selling. Ultimately we are selling because can’t stand the dirt road or our neighbors. If only we could pick our house up (we love the house) with the yard and move it elsewhere (sigh..) Don’t make our mistakes! Invest time and check out the neighboring streets, stores, schools and restaurants. How long does it take you to drive to your favorite spots? Can you live with that?
Purchasing a home can be a very time-consuming process. You’re most likely going to look at several houses until you find the one that suits your family’s needs. If you end up missing out on one don’t fret, you’ll find another. The approval process, home inspections, paperwork and closing all take time. You’re going to have to accept that you have to “Give Time, Time”. The sooner you realize that things are not going to happen overnight the better off and less stressed out you will be.
Don’t Do Anything That Might Affect Your Mortgage
Your lender will be studying your finances on the day of your closing. Do not jeopardize your closing by making silly mistakes. That means you should not apply for any new credit. No new car, credit card, furniture or worse- changing jobs. These are all things that could red flag the lender! If you have too many red flags, the lender won’t give you a clear to close. Be patient and wait until after the closing and you have moved into the home. Be sure to remember these 10 Things I Wish We Knew About Buying A House, so you don’t commit our mistakes!
What do you wish you knew before buying a house? What do you regret about your home buying experience?
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