Few life events are as exciting and daunting as purchasing a new home. Fortunately, much of the stress associated with a home purchase can be avoided with the right guidance. Here are 10 tips from our real estate team to help make the process as smooth as possible:
Prepare Before You Browse
- Know how much house you can afford: Feeling confident in your price range is an essential first step to buying a house. As a starting point, get pre-approved (or at least, pre-qualitified) for a loan with a reliable lender.
- Save first: Ideally, you’ll be able to save at least 20% of your target home price for a down payment. This provides several important benefits over a lesser down payment: your monthly payments and overall loan amount will be reduced, and lenders will see you as less of a risk. That often means smaller interest rates and no requirement to purchase mortgage insurance. That said, conventional loans may be obtained with as little as a 3% down payment, and VA loans typically require no down payment.
- Know your neighborhoods: There are a lot of factors to consider when searching your ideal neighborhood – including school districts, taxes, crime rates, and future development plans. Having a realtor is invaluable for this reason, and talking to local residents can be helpful as well.
Simplify the Search Process
- Know your priorities: What features are non-negotiable in your future home? Number of bedrooms? Proximity to school or work? Big yard? Deciding in advance which features are “must-have” and which are negotiable will help you avoid wasting time on undesirable homes.
- Bring furniture measurements: Especially if you’re downsizing, it’s important to make sure your furniture will actually fit in the new space. That way, if you find a house that might be “the one,” you’ll have one less variable to wonder about.
- Keep track of your thoughts: Bring your Buyer Guide (if you’re buying with us) to record your thoughts and store informational materials (like flyers). This will help you compare the various homes you’ve seen and can help you figure out what’s most important to you.
Make Sure Your Dream Home Isn’t a Nightmare
- Get an inspection: This is one step you can’t afford to skip. Home inspectors are trained in “seeing the unseen,” revealing existing or potential issues that could be expensive or even dangerous. Fortunately, our team has worked with a variety of inspectors and can recommend a reputable one.
- Know the actual market value: Don’t just go by the asking price; find out the fair market value for your potential home by asking your broker for a Comparative Market Analysis.
- Estimate possible upgrades: If you love the home but hate certain aspects of it (like an outdated kitchen), consider the cost of making renovations. You could even meet with a contractor to find out what the damage will be; this could factor in to your offer.
Close the Sale
- Have a buffer: Having an experienced broker acting on your behalf during the sales and closing process is extremely valuable. While representing your interests and ensuring you’re getting a good deal, we will also act as a buffer to the selling party, helping you avoid unnecessary tension.