Buying a home is, for most people, the most expensive purchase they’ll ever make. There are plenty of factors to consider to choose the right home, but before you’re ready to start house hunting, there are five tips you should know to make this purchase confidently and with ease.
Keep Your Money Where It Is
Three to six months before you apply for a mortgage, do not make any large purchases. While you may think this would improve your credit score, lenders need to see that you’re reliable. If you open new credit cards, amass too much debt or buy a lot of big-ticket items, you’re going to have a hard time getting a loan.
Don’t Time The Market
Don’t obsess with trying to figure out the market for interest rates. Trying to anticipate the housing market is impossible, even for experts. The best time to buy is when you find your perfect house and you can afford it.
Apply For Pre-Approval
There’s a big difference between a buyer being pre-qualified and a buyer who has a pre-approved mortgage. Almost anyone can get pre-qualified for a loan. Getting pre-approved means a lender has looked at all of your financial information and they’ve let you know how much you can afford and how much they will lend you. Being pre-approved will save you a lot of time and energy so you are not running around looking at houses you can’t afford. It will also give you an advantage if you end up putting in an offer at the same time as someone else puts in an offer.
Be Aware Of All The Costs
Most people focus on the mortgage, but you shouldn’t forget the other expenses such as property taxes, utilities and homeowner-association dues. You should also consider any needed repairs, maintenance and property taxes. There are also the moving expenses, as well as move-in purchases such as paint, window treatments and supplies.
Be Fully Informed With A Home Inspection
When you found the house that works best for you, be sure to have it inspected by a certified and insured inspector. Not only will this help you know which repairs you’ll have to make upon move-in or within the next few years, but it will also help you negotiate the best price for your home. Will the water heater need to be replaced? How long will the roof last before repairs are needed? Is it structurally sound? What about the electrical, plumbing and HVAC systems? Is there a termite issue? What’s the home’s radon level? Is there a mold problem?