Buying a new home is a big step in many people’s lives, one that requires careful consideration and preparation before you can take the plunge. However, this process takes more than a helpful real estate agent and a basic knowledge of real estate trends, although both will help. Instead, potential homeowners need to know how to prepare themselves and analyze a house for sale to avoid common pitfalls and mistakes. Follow the tips below to make your experience buying a new home a success!
Step One: Get Ready
Many people think that they have to wait for the right time to start looking for new homes, a factor that is decided by the economy, housing market and more. In reality, the best time to buy a home is when you find the perfect home and have the resources to afford it. Prepare for this time by taking a look at your potential budget and planned expenses: you should avoid making big purchases or financial changes for three to six months before buying a new home, as new credit cards, sizable expenses and debt are red flags for lenders. You should also try to get pre-approved for a home loan. Many home buyers get pre-qualified, but almost anyone can achieve this. In contrast, getting pre-approved means a lender has considered all of your financial data and informed you how much you can afford and what they will lend you. This will keep you from looking at properties out of your price range, and also gives you the chance to find the best deal and interest rate before you get caught up in your search for a new house.
Trust Your Research, Not Your Emotions
Even if you think you have found the perfect home, it is important to examine it thoroughly to avoid hidden costs and other problems. Consider paying for a home inspector to search for hidden issues; while this service can cost a few hundred dollars, it can save you from buying a house with expensive hidden damage, or even create a negotiating point to help you talk the seller down to a lower price. You should also drop by the neighborhood frequently to see how the area is at different times of the day, check your potential work commute, and analyze local school districts. If possible, you should even have the property surveyed: this will tell you exactly how much land you will buying and how much you can expect to pay in property taxes. And don’t forget to research hidden fees, like utility costs, which can significantly increase your potential payments.
Make a Smart Bid
Many homeowners aim low the first time they submit a bid, but offering a price that is fair, reasonable and won’t offend the seller can be pivotal. To determine a good amount, consider what you can afford and how much you believe the property is worth. The latter can depend on the economy, the prices of other homes in the area, and nearby features that could increase or decrease worth. Your real estate agent can likely help with this. However, if possible, visit the county clerk’s office to find out if the sellers are behind on their property taxes: this can help with your negotiations. And don’t submit a round figure: an oddball number sounds like you’ve put in research and will draw attention.