You’ve been looking around trying to find your dream home and you finally found what you feel is the house for you and your family and decide that you’re going to put some money down on the property. If you have not prepared yourself properly the process can be a bit overwhelming.
To save yourself a bunch of hassle and even money in the long run we have put together a list of 10 useful tips every new home buyer needs to know before buying a house. Go ahead and read through the information and discover how just a few of these tips can save you tons of time and a bunch of money.
1 Get approved: It’s really smart to be pre-approved with your mortgage so you know how much you can spend and you can be competitive with the bidding. And share that number with your realtor so they only show houses that are a fit for your budget.
2 What do you really need? Make a list of things you don’t need and share it with your realtor. For example, sharing that you can live without a master bathroom or a fully updated kitchen might help in a competitive market — and help you avoid a bidding war.
3 Budget right: Just because you’re approved for a certain amount doesn’t mean that number actually fits your budget. Before even thinking about seriously putting an offer on any home, take a look at your monthly financials to determine how much of a mortgage you can really take on.
4 Location, location, location: Buy for the neighborhood, and then the house — where you live is key. It’s better to have the worst house on a great block than the best house on a bad block.
5 Clock the miles: Do a mock commute before you commit. It may sound silly, but if you drive or take public transportation to an office every day, your commute time (and convenience) is a major factor!
6 More cash down: Consider making an offer with more cash down than you will actually end up using. If you could theoretically pay 35 percent down, put that in your offer letter. But when you work it out with the bank, you might only need to put 20 or 25 percent down, giving you more cash on hand for improvements or as a buffer. The more you put down in the offer, the easier it is to compete with all-cash.
7 Look at everything: Don’t be afraid to look at foreclosures and short sales in your price range. It might seem a bit scary, especially when you’re dealing directly with the bank, but that means you don’t have a seller that’s connected to the property. And low-ball bids might actually be accepted — especially if the property has been sitting vacant.
8 Think big: Try not to get too connected to a home. Don’t get caught up in the seller’s furniture or wall color — you get to change all that when you buy the home. Think about how the property will appreciate in time and if it’s worth the investment.
9 Personal tour: If they’re willing, ask the sellers for your own walk-through. While your visit with the real estate agent is meant to confirm that everything is as it should be, a one-on-one walk-through with the sellers offers the opportunity to ask specific questions about everything from which spot in the backyard gets the best sunlight to when a refrigerator was last replaced.
10 Get organized! When you get all your paperwork together to get pre-approved, keep it handy because you’ll need it again (and usually additional paperwork) when you actually apply for a loan. And be prepared to spend a good chunk of time making copies and faxing documents.
Although some of these tips may seem obvious you will be surprised how many home buyers don’t utilize this information during their house shopping experience. Before you go out and buy that home make sure you get familiar with these helpful tips that will definitely make your home shopping experience much easier while at the same time increase your chances of saving hundreds and even thousands of dollars on your new house.