Buying Secret #10: Keep Your Money Where It Is
It’s not wise to make any huge purchases or move your money around three to six months before buying a new home.
Buying Secret #9: Get Pre-Approved for Your Home Loan
There’s a big difference between a buyer being pre-qualified and a buyer who has a pre-approved mortgage. Anybody 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.
Buying Secret #8: Avoid a Border Dispute
Knowing precisely where your property lines are may save you from a potential dispute with your neighbors. Also, your property tax can be based on how much property you have, so it is best to have an accurate map drawn up when a survey is done.
Buying Secret # 7: Don’t Try to Time the Market
The best time to buy is always when you find your perfect house and you can afford it. Real estate goes through cycles, it goes up and it goes down and it goes back up again. So, if you try to wait for the perfect time, you’re probably going to miss out.
Buying Secret # 6: Bigger Isn’t Always Better
Everyone’s drawn to the biggest, most beautiful house on the block. But bigger is not always better when it comes to houses, or yards. Take a moment to factor in the home maintenance and yard work for long term goals.
Buying Secret #5: Avoid Sleeper Costs
The difference between renting and home ownership is the sleeper costs. Most people just focus on their mortgage payment, but they also need to be aware of the other expenses such as property taxes, utilities or homeowner-association dues. New homeowners also need to be prepared to pay for repairs, maintenance and potential property-tax increases. Make sure you budget for sleeper costs so you’ll be covered.
Buying Secret #4: You’re Buying a House – Not Dating It
Buying a house based on emotions is just going to break your heart. If you fall in love with something, you might end up making some pretty bad financial decisions. There’s a big difference between your emotions and your instincts. Going with your instincts means that you recognize that you’re getting a great house for a good value. Going with your emotions is being obsessed with the paint color or the backyard.
Buying Secret #3: Give Your House a Physical
Would you buy a car without checking under the hood? Of course you wouldn’t. A home inspector’s sole responsibility is to 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. It’s better to spend the money up front on an inspector than to find out later you have to spend a fortune.
Buying Secret #2: The Secret Science of Bidding
Your opening bid should be based on two things: what you can afford, and what the property is worth. Make your opening bid something that’s fair and reasonable. This is where your Realtor and their knowledge is going to give you the leg up on the competition!
Buying Secret #1: Stalk the Neighborhood
Before you buy, get the lay of the land – drop by morning noon and night. Drive by the house at all hours of the day to see what’s happening in the neighborhood. Run 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 town, the value can be affected as much as 20 percent.