So, you’re ready to buy a home! As you gear up for this exciting time in your life, you have probably been told the basics–things like getting pre-approved for financing or not being too critical over cosmetic issues you can easily fixed. But what about those other things–the ones no one ever tells you about, but you ultimately find out for yourself?
3. You don’t need to spend your full pre-approved amount.
When it comes to how much house you can afford to finance, just because you can, doesn’t mean you should. You will be surprised at how quickly other costs–like moving expenses, decor and furniture, and cosmetic fixes–quickly add up. It will be less painful if you are not also paying for a mortgage that is at the top of your ability.
4. Don’t try to furnish every room immediately.
If you are moving from an apartment or smaller rental into a larger home, you may not have the furnishings for every room immediately. Do not give into the idea that you need to fully furnish your new place from the day you move in. Not only will you avoid overspending, but you will give yourself time to live with your space and plan out your decor and furniture needs.
5. School districts matter even if you don’t have kids.
While top school districts are always on the “must have” lists of buyers who have children, childless couples may not spend much time thinking about schools. That would be a mistake since good schools are a major selling point for that day down the road when you decide to put your home back on the market.
6. Bring in a contractor after the home inspection.
A home inspection is a must and will yield a list of needed repairs. But before negotiating with a seller, bring in a contractor and ask for estimates on those repairs you are most likely to want done. That way, when it comes time to negotiate, you will be less likely to accept a credit that is far less than it will take you to have the repair done.
7. Shop around for a good mortgage rate.
Regardless of your credit standing, it pays to shop around to several mortgage lenders for the best rate. While half a percentage point may seem trivial, it can add up to thousands of dollars over the life of your loan.
8. A short sale is anything but short.
New home buyers are often interested in short sales. Unfortunately, the term “short” refers to the home’s value and not the length of the process. Because they go through so many levels of approval, a “short” sale can actually take months longer than a regular sale and can still fall apart in the end.
9. You will become your own landlord.
Remember how easy it was to call the landlord when the shower faucet wore loose or the kitchen door didn’t close correctly? Those days are over. You are now your own landlord, which just shows how important it is to keep that “rainy day” savings account for unexpected repairs.
10. Hire an agent, but be your best advocate.
It should be a “no-brainer” to hire a buyer’s agent to help you through the process; you are not even responsible for paying the agent’s commission. But do not expect your agent to do all the work. You know best how much home you can afford, for example, or what features are most important. Make your own decisions and rely on your agent to negotiate on your behalf.