The process of buying a home can be exciting, frustrating, and stressful. It’s smart to educate yourself before you begin. Seek assistance from professionals and follow these steps when you are ready to invest in a home.
Be Prepared When Buying a Home
1. Hire a Reputable Agent When Buying a Home
It’s possible to find homes yourself by browsing popular real estate sites or driving around in the areas you like, but it’s not the best way. An agent can find properties for you that aren’t online. He or she will also represent you during negotiations. Real estate agents protect the interests of their clients and will be your advocate throughout the process.
2. Compile a List of Needs vs. Wants
Make a list of what your house must have and a separate list of items that would be nice, but aren’t deal-breakers. If your list is too specific, you might be looking for the right home a lot longer than you would like.
Some things might be ideal, such as stainless steel appliances or hardwood floors, but you can always make renovations later if the list price is below budget. Proximity to neighbors, amount of land, or location should be more of a focus since they can’t be changed.
3. Get Pre-Approved
Sellers and agents will take you more seriously if you’re pre-approved for a mortgage. If you’ve already secured financing, it speeds the process up and assures the seller that you’re serious about buying. Once you find your perfect home, you’ve already spoken with a lender and are ready to move forward in the process.
4. Know What You Can Afford
The bank will determine how much they think you can afford when buying a home, but it may not be what you’re willing to spend each month. Experts recommend not spending more than 1/3 of your income on your mortgage payment. You have other expenses and will need to pay for home repairs and maintenance on top of your mortgage.
5. Make a Reasonable Offer
Work with your agent to make a reasonable offer on the home based on the market value and condition of the house. If your offer is too low, you’ll insult the seller and they won’t consider it. Putting in a lowball offer can be the biggest mistake you make when buying a home, especially in a hot market.
6. Hire a Reputable Home Inspector When Buying a Home
Never purchase a home without having a thorough inspection to check everything. An inspector will look at the foundation, examine the major systems and components, and inform you about any repairs the home needs. An inspection report gives you an advantage in negotiations to either request the seller to complete the repairs before closing, or lower the price to account for the repairs.
Your homebuying journey doesn’t have to be filled with confusion and stress. Take your time and plan carefully to have a less stressful and more rewarding experience.