Buying a new home can be overwhelming! There is so much to consider and so many things to remember. And then of course there are the emotions attached to new home ownership. Here’s a handy checklist to use before you make a real estate investment.
Before you begin looking for a home, make sure you have help. Find a real estate agent you trust, or a broker. Get family and friends who are knowledgeable or whom you trust to give you solid advice to help.
Make sure you’re ready to buy a home. You should have a steady source of reliable income, a good credit score, money saved for a down payment and the willingness to manage a long term debt.
Create a checklist of things that are important to you in a home. It’s so easy to fall in love with a home and have it not really be the home that best fits your needs. If you approach the home buying process strategically by making a list of what you want it to have, you’ll make a better buying decision.
Consider taking a camera with you so you can keep track of the details of each home. Definitely take along a notebook and your checklist so you can compare homes.
If schools are important to you, make sure to only look at homes that are in acceptable school districts. Don’t waste your time and the time of sellers and agents by looking at homes outside of areas you’re not going to buy in.
Consider getting pre-qualified before you begin the house hunt. This helps you know how much you can afford and it makes the negotiation process go more smoothly. The seller has a high degree of confidence that the deal is going to go through.
Stick to what you can afford. There is always going to be a bigger, better, nicer house to buy. Instead of looking at what you can’t afford, stick to looking at homes in your price range. This also means knowing in advance what you can and want to afford. A bank may tell you that you can afford more than you think you can. Trust your judgment and your personal budget. Remember there are closing costs, taxes, insurance, and maintenance expenses to owning a home.
Research areas and home styles you like before you contact an agent. This will help narrow your home search and help you find what you want more quickly.
Remember that while you have a checklist to use to compare homes, no home is going to have exactly what you want. Nothing is perfect. Find a home you can be happy with and be willing to give and take a little.
Always get every agreement in writing. Make sure to get an inspection and to make purchasing the home contingent on it passing an inspection. The last thing you want to do is buy a home that’s full of unexpected problems and needs repairs.
Buying a home is a fun and exciting process. Take it slowly, evaluate your options and make decisions that are right for you. Happy house hunting!