At a certain point in our life, we all think about moving into a brand-new house we bought with our own money, in a nice neighborhood, to settle down and call home. The reality of buying real estate, however, is that it’s not as quick and easy as we all wish it could be. Buying a house is a big undertaking and buying your first house is an even bigger one. So, here are ten tips to keep in mind so that you can buy your new house confidently and properly.
1. Make sure you are ready to commit
You may be eager to jump right in and start searching the real estate market for anything interesting, but before you do that, you need to really make sure this is a commitment you’re willing to make. Not only will you have to stay in the area you have chosen even if you decide it’s not the place for you, but you’ll also need to pay a mortgage on it for the next several years. You’re making a commitment when you buy a house, so like any commitment, don’t dive in head-first before you’re positive it’s something you’re ready and willing to handle.
2. Get prepared financially
On that note, you should also make sure you’re prepared financially for this. If you have the option, investigate getting a pre-approval on a mortgage loan, which will not only allow you to spot and fix any credit issues you may have in advance but will also give you time to save money and will even increase your chances at being considered by the seller. You’ll have a bit of a head start and will have a better idea of your budget and financial status when going in. Even if you don’t want to request pre-approval, now is the time to double-check your funds, discover in advance how much a typical home might cost, and decide your budget. You may decide you need to get a loan, increase your credit score, or save up more money before it’s time to take on the housing market.
3. Get first-time buyer’s assistance
Buying a home for the first time is already a massive undertaking, so there’s no reason to do it alone. There are programs to help people in your exact situation, which can result in lowered mortgage interest rates, help with taxes, down payment assistance, and provide you education on the home-buying process. If you live in the United States, each state has its own assistance program you can reach out to, and there are five nationwide programs to offer financial assistance. Depending on where you live, your assistance options and their restrictions may change, so be sure to do your research ahead of time.
4. Know what you’re looking for
Houses come in all shapes, sizes, and styles, and there are many factors to take into account. Before you actually begin the search, you should think about what you’d actually like your new house to be like. Do you need something large with multiple bathrooms? Would a small ranch be a better fit? How busy should the area be, and how close is it to any potential employers, commercial centers, and schools? These questions will help you narrow your search and find your dream house.
5. Find a good real estate agent
Real estate agents don’t just help you to sell your home and find potential buyers. They can also help you with the buying process. If you find a good agent, they’ll help you find homes that fit your budget and preferences, as well as guide you through the purchasing process. Remember to ask questions first to see if they are the right person to help you. It’s best to find an agent with experience helping first-time buyers, as well as someone who understands what you’re looking for and how much help you’ll need to find it. You can also ask friends or colleagues if they know any good real estate agents, look at their references, and make sure to read and re-read your contract before signing anything.
6. Start your search
You have your money, you have your real estate agent, and you know exactly where you want to live. All that’s left to do is find the perfect house for you. Luckily, finding for-sale properties is easier than ever before, thanks to the Internet. Once you know what you’re after, using reputable real estate websites can make the search quick and painless. Don’t be afraid to compare costs between websites to make sure you’re getting a good deal and take advantage of virtual house tours and galleries when they are available. If you are nearby, you may be able to visit the property in person and see what it looks like in real life, as well as get an idea about the neighborhood.
7. Inspect the home
After all that searching, you may have finally found the home that calls to you the most. Before you jump to purchasing, however, it’s important to get that home inspected first. There may be some potential red flags you wouldn’t notice just from looking at the house online. By hiring a professional home inspector, you can check the property for anything that might become a concern later, such as the house’s structure and exterior, the heating, lighting, appliances and plumbing, and the windows and doors. Specialists can check for toxic radon exposure, roofing issues, pests such as termites or rats, mold, and even check the house’s foundation for you. Be sure to find out what each inspector offers to take full advantage of as many services as possible — it’s about your future safety, after all. Don’t take a risk now and suffer for it later.
8. Learn to negotiate
That price tag on your dream house may seem daunting, no matter how nice the house is. Luckily, there’s no need to worry about the starting price if you know how to negotiate with the seller and their agent, especially if you have an agent of your own to help you through the process. Your agent will help you navigate through the jargon and talk to the seller’s agent, but it’s still up to you to know how to drop the price or get other concessions.
To negotiate properly, you’ll need to know if the market is on your side or if there are a lot of other candidates competing for the house. You should have your finances prepared and know how much you’ll feel comfortable paying. Consider the price of the closing costs and the down payment, any repairs that need to be made, and why the seller is giving up their house in the first place before you attempt to persuade them. You may even be able to make an emotional appeal and communicate the reasons why their house is perfect for you and your family. Of course, if you must, don’t be afraid to walk away if the seller won’t budge. There will always be other houses and more opportunities to get a deal that suits your needs. Don’t attempt to drop the price too low, however, or you’ll soon find that nobody will agree to your offers.
9. Close the deal
After finding a good, affordable house, you’re not done with your journey quite yet. It’s time to focus on making the transition as smooth as possible and to ensure that your future in that house will continue being smooth after the purchase. During the closing stage, you’ll have about 53 days on average to get everything sorted. With the help of your agent, you can use this time to take out some loans, carefully read and sign any closing contracts, and do a last walkthrough to ensure the previous owner didn’t leave anything behind. You can also use this time to consider any repairs you may need or any furnishings, paint jobs, and rearrangements you might want to make. The home is yours now, so don’t skimp out on making it a home you’ll want to live in.
10. Buy decent home insurance
During this closing stage, you’ll need to take out homeowner’s insurance to protect your home from potential damage in the future. Preferably, your insurance should even cover rebuilding costs if it should become necessary, so do your research to find the best options for you and your new home. Otherwise, if your home gets damaged or destroyed, the last thing you’ll want is to be stuck paying for the repairs out-of-pocket.
Contact Mr. Roof
Now that you have your brand-new home, you will want it to be protected from the elements by making sure that roofing, masonry, insulation, and more are in proper shape all year round. The professionals at Mr. Roof can help you so that you can continue living happily in the new home. Contact us today to learn what we can do for you.