When you make the decision to buy your first home, you should be certain that you’re ready to make the leap into homeownership. There’s many different things that you should do as a buyer to get ready before you even set out on the search of a perfect home.
Choose An Agent
You may think that one real estate agent is the same as any real estate agent that you’ll find. This is far from the truth. Some agents have certain specialties. The knowledge that an agent will bring to your house hunt is often invaluable. You are making one of the biggest purchases that you’ll ever make in your lifetime. While many buyers think that they can simply do an online search themselves to find a home, your realtor will have many more resources to assist you in finding exactly what you’re looking for.
Figure Out The Financial Portion Of Buying A Home
While knowing how many bedrooms you need and where you hope to live is important, understanding your finances is even more important. You’ll need to talk to a lender to get the process started. After looking at your own personal budget, you should get pre-qualified. Getting pre-qualified allows you to see a general number of how much house you can afford. That can help you start the process, however, there’s still a few more steps.
From here, you can do what needs to be done to get your entire financial picture ready to buy a home. This includes saving for a downpayment, improving your credit score, and continuing to keep up bill payments and consistent work history.
Next, you’ll want to get pre-approved. This allows your lender to dig into your financial picture. Everything from your credit score to your income and employment history will be considered. Your lender will then give you a more definitive number of how much you’ll actually be able to get for a loan when you buy a home. To get pre-approved, be prepared with 1099 forms, pay stubs, tax returns, and bank statements. You’ll then have the concrete amount that you’re approved for along with the interest rate that you qualify for.
Once You Have Applied For A Home Loan
Once you find the realtor to assist you and secure the home of your dreams, you’re not free to head out and buy all the furniture that you need to fill up your house. The home loan must go through the underwriting process and until that is complete, your finances are essentially on lockdown. If you start opening new credit cards, decide to buy a car, or fall behind on payments, you could end up in a lot of trouble. You want to keep your credit score stable throughout the process of buying a home for smooth sailing.
Whether you’re shopping for your first house or your next house, finding a listing you love is exciting. You browse the pictures, check out the property facts, share the link to your significant other, and maybe even schedule a showing.
With the exciting prospect of owning a new home that has all or many of the features you’re looking for, it can be easy to forget about certain details that matter. Most of us look for similar things in a house--close proximity to work, enough bedrooms, an upgraded kitchen, and so on.
In this article, we’re going to give you a list of things to investigate about the house you’re looking at to get a better idea of whether or not it’s the perfect match for you and your family.
1. Re-read the listing
If you’re like me and get lost in the photos of a home and forget to make note of the details, be sure to go back and check out the listing a second time. It will likely give you important details of the house that you overlooked on your initial visit.
Look for things like the year the house was built, information of the heating, ventilation, and air conditioning system, and the total acreage of the lot and square footage of the home. These things are hard to accurately represent in the listing’s pictures, but will likely be important to your decision of whether or not you should view the home.
2. Do your online research
The number of things you can learn about a home and neighborhood on the internet is astounding. We suggest that before you go to visit a home, you spend 10-20 minutes on Google researching the following topics:
School district ratings. If you have or plan to have school-aged children, you’ll want to know what your options are for your child’s education. It’s often a good idea to check out the local schools’ websites to see what
Commute times. With Google Maps and similar sites, you can plan out what your new commute will be and see how long it will take. You might find different routes that will save you time or avoid traffic (we could all use those extra few minutes in bed every morning). Google Maps isn’t always accurate when it comes to morning traffic estimates, but it’s a good place to start.
Amenities. Having moved into a neighborhood that has no grocery stores within a 20-minute drive, trust me--you’ll want to know what’s in the area. Use Google Maps to find stores, gas, schools, parks and trails, hospitals, and other things you’ll want close by.
Street view. While we’re on Google, use street view to take a remote look around the neighborhood. You’ll be able to see how the infrastructure looks--if the neighborhood is taken care of and if there are sidewalks that offer a safe place to walk or jog.
Crime ratings. Don’t get too caught up in this section. Crimes happen everywhere, but this is a good way to see if the area you’re moving to is a safe place
3. Don’t be afraid to ask questions
If, after all of your online research, you decide you want to go view a home, don’t be shy when you arrive. It’s understandable that you wouldn’t want to be a burden in someone else’s home. But remember--if you’re considering living there someday you’ll want to know as much as possible before making an offer.
Test the plumbing, ask about average utilities, and don’t be afraid to introduce yourself to neighbors and ask them questions about the community. The more you know, the better. Happy sleuthing!
Purchasing a house should be an unforgettable journey for all the right reasons. However, problems sometimes may arise that can make it tough to enjoy a positive homebuying experience.
Whether it's struggling to know where to search for your dream home or getting the financing you need to purchase a house, myriad problems may prevent you from enjoying a positive homebuying experience. Lucky for you, we're here to help you identify potential homebuying hurdles and eliminate such problems before they escalate.
Now, let's take a look at three tips to help you reap the benefits of a positive homebuying experience.
1. Enter the Housing Market with Clear Expectations
If you know you want to purchase a house, it helps to enter the real estate market with clear expectations. That way, you'll be better equipped than ever before to streamline your house search.
Consider what you want to find in your dream house. For example, if you want to own a house near the beach, you should conduct your home search accordingly. Or, if you want to buy a home with a big backyard and outdoor swimming pool, you can hone your home search as needed.
Think about areas where you want to reside too. By doing so, you can focus on available homes in specific cities and towns.
2. Know Your Homebuying Budget
Get pre-approved for a mortgage – you'll be glad you did. Because if you have a mortgage at your disposal, you can pursue houses in a specific price range and speed up your home search.
Obtaining a mortgage can be simple. In fact, if you meet with a variety of banks and credit unions, you may be able to get a mortgage in no time at all.
Remember, banks and credit unions employ knowledgeable mortgage specialists who are happy to assist you in any way possible. If you have any mortgage questions, these specialists can respond to your queries. And as a result, you can gain the insights you need to get a mortgage that matches your finances.
3. Employ a Real Estate Agent
A real estate agent is a difference-maker, particularly for a homebuyer who wants to seamlessly navigate the property buying journey. With a real estate agent at your side, you can achieve the best-possible results, regardless of where and when you're searching for a home.
Typically, a real estate agent will meet with you, learn about your homebuying expectations and help you map out a property buying strategy. This housing market professional can offer expert insights into the local real estate market and ensure you can pursue houses that match your expectations. Plus, a real estate agent will set up home showings, help you submit an offer to purchase your dream house and negotiate with a seller's agent on your behalf. And if you ever have concerns during the homebuying journey, a real estate agent will address them immediately.
Ready to enjoy a positive homebuying experience? Use the aforementioned tips, and you can quickly and effortlessly navigate the homebuying journey.
When you’re buying a home, it’s important to offer a good price to be able to land the property of your dreams. You also don’t want to overpay for the house you’re buying. If you want to know for sure that you’re paying a good price for a home, you’re going to need to do some price comparisons. Take a look at recently sold homes in your neighborhood of choice and see what the going rate is. If all of the homes are similar in the area, it will be easy to find out how much the home you’re buying is worth. There are a few ways that you can do comparisons to make it easier for you to determine the right price for the home you want to buy.
Take A Look At The Neighborhood
There are certain features that attract nearly everyone to certain neighborhoods. From the safety and friendliness of an area to the schools that are nearby, to the stores, and public transportation access, people are attracted to what makes their lives easier and more enjoyable. The bottom line is the more desirable the neighborhood, the higher the price of the homes in it.
Check Out Public Records
With the Internet, it’s pretty easy to access public records these days. You can take a look at what properties have been bought and sold for in recent times int the area of the homes that you’re looking at. You can even take a peek at some historic information to help you see if the area is up-and-coming.
Is The Neighborhood Going To Become Trendy?
Sometimes, you can find a great property for less in a neighborhood that hasn’t quite reached it’s full potential yet. If there’s a slot of new construction going on, that’s a good sign that the neighborhood is moving on up! Especially attractive features in a neighborhood are new schools, new shopping centers, or new parks.
There Is A Tipping Point To Growth
If it seems that a neighborhood is growing a bit too much, it may actually decrease the value of your home. Huge commercial developments can actually be detrimental to the value of a property. Where there’s a lot of people, there’s also a lot of noise and traffic. That’s usually not a desirable factor in a neighborhood.
Meet In The Middle
When you’re looking at the price of properties, the best bet is to meet somewhere in the middle for what is reasonable. While you don’t want to buy the highest priced home in the neighborhood, you probably don’t want to lowest price for that neighborhood either. Working with a more average number is a good option because your home helps any home lower priced than yours, while any higher priced homes help to increase the value of your home. It’s a win-win situation when you choose a property based on price and keep this strategy in mind.
You have finally found what you believe to be the perfect home. Then, something rings off in your gut. Maybe it was poor communication with the seller. Maybe a big change happened in your own life in a short period of time. All you know is that you really want to back out of the deal. You might have a lot of questions. Is this possible? Are there consequences?
The short answers to these questions are yes, and yes. There is a possibility that you could be sued by your backing out of a deal. It’s rare that buyers are actually mandated to buy a home that they don’t actually want to buy. Sellers will, however, be able to keep any money that has already been paid as a deposit after a certain point in the dealings on a home sale. Sellers may also be awarded damages in some cases.
Legally Backing Out Of The Contract
There are a few circumstances where buyers may have a legitimate right to back out of a contract on a home. If certain contingencies weren’t met, as a buyer, you’re free and clear to walk away. These circumstances include:
- Financing falls through
- You couldn’t sell your former home
- Flaws in the home have not been disclosed
- Property boundary line issues exist
- Liens are against a home’s title
- The seller does not meet the terms for improvement
- Undisclosed uses exist for the land such as a pathway
If none of these reasons apply to you and you still have reservations about buying the home, you may need to sacrifice a huge chunk of money. The way that you exit the deal will all depend upon the contracts that were signed previously.
Other Buyers Are Waiting For The Home
If you are in a tight market and decide to back out of buying a home, you could be in luck. Often, if there’s a backup offer, it’s enough to satisfy a seller that at least the home will be sold promptly. However, don’t hold you breath when it comes to getting your deposits back. If you have already “promised” to buy a home, you can kiss the deposit goodbye, unfortunately.
Always Hire A Real Estate Attorney
Whether your state requires it or not, you should always hire a real estate attorney. These professionals can help you to read each and every line of the contracts that you’re signing when buying a home. They will make suggestions as to how you can protect yourself through the process along the way. It’s a good investment to hire a lawyer when you’re buying a home.