Dreaming of that perfect home? 2020 might just be the year for you! Here are some tips to consider this year when you buy your first home.
Check and Polish Up Your Credit Score
Check your credit score. Consider improving it by paying off a chunk of debt or giving it time to improve. Don’t buy a car, make any big purchases on a credit card, or make any late payments on any of your accounts. You want your credit in tip-top shape from when you apply for a mortgage until closing. To check your credit score, we suggest visiting Annual Credit Report.
Houses can move quickly. That’s why it’s important to have your finances in order when you’re looking for a house. Get pre-approved so you’re ready to make an offer before your dream house is gone. If you don’t have your financing secure when you’ve found the house you want, you could lose it to someone who is prepared to make an offer.
Get a Real Estate Agent You Trust
Get referrals, do your research, and find the right agent who can take care of your specific needs. Talk to family, friends, or anyone you know and trust to find out which agents they recommend. You can even ask your Loan Originator for suggestions. Make sure the person you choose as your real estate agent is someone you can rely on because you’ll be seeing a lot of them throughout the house buying process.
Consider What Your Long-Term Needs Are
Don’t just think about what you want now. Consider what your needs in a house are likely to be in the future. Houses are typically a long-term investment, so consider your long-term needs in a house.
Identify Your Deal Breakers
It’s important to have a wish list but remember that no house is going to be perfect. That’s why you must identify the main things that will deter you from buying a house. Understand that you may have to accept smaller flaws, but it’s okay to be aware of those deal breakers and to even say no to a house because of them. Consider which aspects of the home can easily be renovated and changed. Sometimes it’s about the potential of a home more than its current state. Read about our Renovation Loans to learn more.
Don’t Judge a Book by its Cover
You don’t want to miss out on something amazing because of how it looked in its listing. Maybe it’s just an unflattering photo! Go inside. Have a look around. Give it a chance! You might be surprised by how much you love a house once you actually go inside.
Take Advantage of Open Houses – and Take Pictures!
An open house is your chance to really take a close look at a house to determine if it’s the one for you. Take this opportunity to pay attention to small details and analyze every corner. Pay attention to any smells, damage, stains, or anything in disrepair. Make sure to ask a lot of questions about the home – when it was built, how old certain systems and features are, and the renovation or repair history.
Most importantly, don’t forget to take pictures! If you don’t, you’ll be kicking yourself later when you’re wishing you could take another look it.
Consider the Surrounding Area – Not Just the Home Itself
It’s easy to focus on the house itself and all its amenities, but you can’t forget to learn about the neighborhood the house is a part of. Take note of the neighboring houses, the types of neighbors, and the nearby stores. Make sure to visit in the evening as well as during the day so you can get an understanding of what the neighborhood is like at all hours. You might realize a house is not for you when you visit at night and notice a high noise level.
Remember to Budget for Unexpected Expenses
Don’t make the mistake of only considering the price of a house when you determine your budget. There are other costs, like down payments, closing costs, and move-in expenses, that you need to consider. You don’t want to reach the top of your budget just to get hit with these costs you hadn’t thought about.
Do Your Research Before You Make an Offer
Consider what other homes in the area have sold for, how long ago the sale was, and what amenities the home has. Remember that the market determines the value of a home, so make sure you’re familiar with the state of the market.
Know What Home Inspections Entail
Inspections are really important to determine the condition of the house because just looking at the surface area of a house doesn’t always tell you what problems might lie unseen.
First, be sure to be there for the inspection. That way you can see exactly what happens, you can ask questions, and you can ask the inspector to look at anything else you’re interested in. Since not all inspections are the same, make sure you know everything that the inspection is testing for. Make sure that the inspector can and does inspect every part of the home, including the roof, attic, or crawl spaces.
What it comes down to is being aware of what you’re buying. Once you know, you can follow up with the seller to determine what they are willing to repair.
Listen to Your Gut
Never discount your intuition. While it’s important to give a home a chance, if you truly feel uneasy deep in your gut, there’s probably something to it. New homes are always coming on the market so don’t be afraid to walk away from one if it doesn’t feel right.
Try to Enjoy the Process
You might start to feel tired and frustrated at some point in the home buying process. These are the moments where it’s especially important to focus on what you can enjoy about the process. Remember that this is an exciting time and a major milestone that you should try to cherish.
Is Now the Time to Buy?
There are a lot of factors that come into play when buying a home. If you want to discuss your options, contact us today to speak to a home financing expert who can help you get your dream home in 2020. Or, download our First Time Home Buyer brochure for more information.