Buying a home is exciting but also terrifying! It’s a complex process filled with paperwork. At times you can literally feel like you’re signing your life away. And with this huge decision comes immense responsibility. Here is what you should know and consider when it comes to buying a house – especially if it’s your first one!
Location, location, location!
Identifying where you want to live is key. A location can make or break a home and your investment. You will take different things into consideration depending on your lifestyle. You may look at how the public schools are in the area or look to see if you’re close to the freeway or any form of pollution. Is there a gym nearby? Can you walk to the store?
I recommend you create a list of things that are the most important to you and then use that to narrow down a location. My husband and I made it a little tricky when we narrowed down our location to 7 blocks! It really limited our choices, and although it worked out, you may want to give yourself more options.
set a budget and stick to it
You’ll look at your money and consider how much you want to spend. But what you may not consider are extra expenses, like closing costs and any other work the house could need before you move into it. You may fall in love with a home to realize it needs a lot of work – and sometimes you can’t negotiate that work with the sellers and you will have to cover it yourself. Other times you will be able to negotiate. But trust me when I say the overall cost of purchasing a home will most likely be higher than expected.
Set a range and then try to stick to the lower end of the range knowing that you have wiggle room. You can use apps like Zillow to help with a mortgage calculator. When I saw a home I liked I put in our downpayment and interest rate and it calculated the mortgage. Remember, you want to be able to sleep at night!
Talk to a lender
Talking to a lender will impact your budget in a big way because your lender will tell you how much money you will need to put down and at what interest rate. You may find a lender with a reasonable rate with only 5% or 10% down. While that’s great, keep in mind that putting down less money on an offer can cost you the home. If you’re bidding against other people in a hot market, the seller is likely to take the offer with more money down. You’ll also want to keep an eye on your credit score. Having a good score will help you with your loan.
What you should do with your lender is get a pre-approval letter from them. Then when you find the home you want you can put an offer down right away. You do not want to wait once you find your home – and not having the approval can cost you the deal.
find the right agent
If you’re working with an agent when buying your home you will want to find someone you work well with. This person will learn a lot about you and it’s good to have someone you trust. Plus, a great agent could help you get the scoop you need when finding a home. We bought in a really crazy market and our agent gave us a heads up on a house in the area where we really wanted to buy.
Having that inside knowledge made all the difference when it came to our home because we had the advantage of seeing it first and then getting the home!
Write a letter
I have heard a lot of opinions when it comes to writing letters. But part of the reason we got our home was because of our letter.
A letter can be the thing that sets you apart. So take some time to write about why you want to live in the home and make it count.
Know what to look for ahead of time
Take some time to study homes before you go to see them. Study homes?! You may think that sounds bizarre but it will come in handy. You can check sites like Zillow to see the general prices in the area, but also to get ideas for what you like in terms of layout. I had never thought too much about living in a home with multiple floors, but consider everything before you buy. If you plan to have kids or do have kids, will you want to deal with many stairs or will a flat layout work better?
Don’t just check stuff online. Be sure to look at everything in person too! Do the lights work? Do the toilets flush? You can’t be too careful when it comes to inspecting, so to be safe you may want to take some other people with you if you can to help you look.
Paperwork gets its own category because it is that much work. When you place an offer there is paperwork, when the offer is accepted there is paperwork and when you close (our Escrow took 30 days) there is paperwork. There is so much paperwork you may feel like you’re signing your life away! So be patient and make sure you pay attention to everything. Paperwork is a time consuming but very important part of the process.
So there you have it! Those are the seven things to know when it comes to buying a house and home. But lastly, don’t forget to stay positive! You don’t know how many times we felt let down when we didn’t get a home or a home didn’t work out for some reason. Good luck!