House Shopping 101: 10 Well Kept Secrets You Should Know
Buying a house is a huge investment that takes a lot of thought. To make the right decision, read this article on house shopping. In it, we share some well-kept secrets that will help you find your dream home.
House shopping is both an exhilarating and stressful experience. It’s always an adventure scouting out the perfect home, but finding it is only half the challenge.
When it comes time to make an offer and close a purchase, many new homebuyers get caught up in challenges no one warned them about.
To help you avoid unnecessary complications or delays, we put together 10 things you want to know when buying a house.
10 House Shopping Secrets You Want In On
Did you know most homebuyers start planning months before they even begin browsing real estate listings? There is a lot of prep work that goes behind preparing for a large purchase.
Use these 10 tips to make the process smoother and score the best deal on your next home!
1. Watch Your Credit in the Months Before and During a Purchase
Loan officers do a lot of research on a potential buyer prior to lending him or her money. It’s a precaution they take in order to make sure you are financially stable enough for the purchase.
However, if you apply for credit cards, move around your funds, or make any major purchases in the months prior to applying for the loan, you can hurt your chances of scoring a good mortgage amount and rate.
We recommend keeping your credit cards paid off and avoiding any large expenditures for up to 6 months prior to your loan application. However, if this is too long of a timeframe to commit to, then aim for at least 3 months.
Otherwise, you may find yourself with a higher interest rate or a lower mortgage pre-approval.
2. Know the Difference Between Pre-Qualifying and Pre-Approving
While these terms may sound synonymous, pre-qualifying for a mortgage and being pre-approved for one has two very different meanings. Anyone can pre-qualify for a loan, but pre-qualifying doesn’t tell you how much a mortgage lender will let you borrow.
In order to determine how much a mortgage lender is willing to give you, you must first get pre-approved. This includes the research we mentioned above, which includes the research we mentioned above in order to determine what is within the realm of your budget.
Doing this before you begin house shopping will help you determine what you can afford and what you can’t, so make sure you get pre-approved before you begin browsing and touring various real estate properties.
3. The Best Time to Buy the Perfect Home is When You Can Afford It
Many new homebuyers obsess over trying to find the perfect deal on the perfect patch of real estate. While it’s true home prices fluctuate, the right time to buy a home will always be when you find a house you love at a price you can afford.
Your real estate agent can help you negotiate a price based on the home’s true value, which can further your savings when you’re ready to make an offer.
So don’t be timid when exploring the market. Instead, see what’s available in your price range. The one you fall in love with will be the one worth making an offer on.
4. Always Factor in Sleeper Costs
First-time homebuyers are sometimes surprised to find there are additional home costs beyond your monthly mortgage payment.
As you factor out your budget, make sure you include:
- Property Taxes
- Average Energy and Water Costs
- Any HOA Fees
- Home Insurance
- A Pre-Planned Budget for Maintenance and Repairs
Your mortgage doesn’t factor in these costs, nor does your pre-approval.
5. Don’t Confuse Size with Value
Sometimes its easy to get swept up in the luxurious size of a home or estate. However, don’t get too enchanted that you lose sight of what makes your ideal house a home.
One of the reasons for this is that large homes are harder to resell than the more conservative properties in the neighborhood.
However, beyond that, it’s important to consider that large-sized homes don’t always equate to the best value. You may find a smaller home with more features for the same price.
6. Draw the Line on Your Potential Property Purchase
Found the perfect property? Make sure you have a survey done to accurately map out exactly what you’re buying.
You never want to go into a purchase without knowing for certain where the borders are in your yard space. A survey will detail your property lines so you know the difference between what’s yours and what belongs to your new neighbors.
This will prevent any disputes post-purchase.
7. Make a Checklist for Your Property Options
There is far more to consider than just paint color and property views when buying a home. Take the time to sit down and outline what you consider a necessity for your next home purchase.
Consider not only the number of bedrooms, features, and type of neighborhood you desire, but also its proximity to your work, local shopping, and entertainment. If you have children, review the quality of the schools in the area.
This will help prevent buyer’s remorse.
8. Never Buy a House Before it’s Been Inspected
Not every home is what it seems on the outside. A home inspector may add a couple of hundred dollars to your bill, but it will save you substantially in the long-run.
A home inspection is completed by an unbiased professional who explores the home from top to bottom, inside and out. Not only will he or she reveal any potential problems with the home, but the professional can also provide information that can be used as a bargaining chip for a better price.
9. Know How to Make a Proper Bid
Bidding can feel intimidating, but it isn’t rocket science. For the best results, remember to:
- Always make a bid you can afford
- Aim for a bid that aligns with the home’s value
- Compare the pricing with similar homes in the same neighborhood
- If the seller’s property taxes are behind in payment, use that information as a bargaining piece
- Bid with an odd number in order to show the seller you’re serious
This will help you make an offer that you can afford, is fair, and won’t offend the bidder.
10. Get to Know Your Neighborhood Before You Buy
It never hurts to get to know your potential neighbors. Spend some time walking through the neighborhood and see what it’s like during the day, as well as at night.
This will tell you a lot about the environment you are moving into, and may even reveal perks or concerns you didn’t know were there.
Get Pre-Qualified for Your Next Home Purchase
Are you house shopping in Orem or Salt Lake City, Utah? If so, get ahead of the game by contacting a loan officer today!
We make the home loan process simple, so you can focus on finding the perfect place for you and your family.