Top 5 Home Buying Tips
Tip #5: Get Pre-Approved for Your Home Loan
There’s a big difference between being pre-qualified, and being pre-approved for a mortgage loan. Anybody can be pre-qualified for a loan. Getting pre-approved means the bank has looked at all of your financial information and they’ve determined 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 also gives you the opportunity to shop around for the best deal and the best interest rates. Do your research: get the full picture on any fees or penalties that are included in the loan terms.
Tip #4: Don’t Make any Other Big Purchases
It’s not wise to make any big purchases or change bank accounts before buying a new home. You don’t want to make any big changes to your credit profile. Lenders want to see that you’re reliable and that you have the ability to repay – that way, they will feel comfortable loaning you the money. If you open new credit cards, or take on new debt such as buying a new car, you’re going to have a harder time getting a loan.
Tip #3: Know the Total Costs of Home Ownership
One difference between renting and owning a home is the additional costs. Many people just focus on their mortgage payment, but you also need to be aware of the other expenses such as property taxes, insurance, utilities and condo fees. New homeowners also need to be prepared to pay for repairs, maintenance and potential property-tax increases. Make sure you budget for these additional expenses so you’ll be covered.
Tip #2: Give Your House a Physical
Would you buy a car without checking under the hood? Of course you wouldn’t. Hire a certified home inspector. It’ll cost about $350 but could end up saving you thousands. Home inspectors provide you with information so that you can make a decision as to whether or not to buy. It’s really the only way to get an unbiased third-party opinion. If the inspector does find any major issues with the home, you can use it as a bargaining tool for lowering the price of the home. It’s better to spend the money up front on an inspector than to find out later you have to spend a fortune.
Tip #1: Stalk the Neighborhood
Before you buy, get the lay of the land – drop by morning noon and night. Many home buyers have had to endure a nasty surprise because they thought they found the perfect home, only to find out the neighborhood wasn’t for them. Drive by the house at all hours of the day to see what’s happening in the neighborhood. Do your regular commute from the house to make sure it is something you can deal with on a daily basis. Find out how far it is to the nearest grocery store and other services. Even if you don’t have kids, research the schools because it affects the value of your home in a very big way. If you buy a house in a good school district versus bad school district even in the same city, the value can be affected by as much as 20%.
portions of this article originally appeared at hgtv.com